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NEWS

Short Update: Up to 100,000 additional deaths predicted in US prisons and jails if population not reduced

FairTrialsAdmin - April 30, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, prison conditions, Prisoner releases

New projections suggest that up to 100,000 additional deaths due to COVID will occur throughout the USA unless significantly greater reductions are made to jail and prison populations. Findings from the new data include:  

  • If a model that doesn’t account for jails predicts the U.S. death toll will be 100,000, our model shows that that projection undercounts deaths by 98 percent. Actual deaths, once we account for jails, could be more than double, rising to 200,000. 

  • Implementing swift, bold reforms to reduce arrests by 50 percent can save 12,000 lives in jails and 47,000 lives in the surrounding communities. 

  • Aggressive action and policy change could save as many as 23,000 people in jail and 76,000 in the broader community if we stop arrests for anything but the five percent of crimes defined as most serious by the FBI — including murder, rape, and aggravated assault — and double the rate of release for those already detained. 

  • States that have begun to reduce their jail populations are quantifiably saving lives. Colorado, for example, has so far achieved a 31 percent reduction in jail population. Our model found this likely will save 1,100 lives — reducing total lives lost in the state by 25 percent. 

  • Every day that goes by without action means more people will die. Delaying action for a week could mean a difference of 18,000 lives lost in the U.S. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected] 

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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