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Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country and the five largest clusters of the virus are in correctional institutions. This isn’t a surprise. Prisons are often overcrowded, social distancing is difficult, bathrooms and public spaces are shared by hundreds of inmates. Guards are constantly going in and out. In a pandemic, prison is probably the worst place a person could be.

Robbie Pollock spent 8 years in New York state prisons. Recently, he spoke with his friend Moe Monsuri, who has been incarcerated since 2007. Monsuri is currently serving his time at Sing Sing, a maximum security prison in upstate New York, where four inmates have died of COVID-19.

This story was produced by reporter Daniel Gross as part of our new series Hunker Down Diaries. You can find more of Daniel’s work at The New Yorker. Image by Acroterion. Music from Blue Dot Sessions.

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