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NEWS

Short Update: COVID-19 death rate in prison twice that of general population

FT Admin - September 10, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Prison conditions, Prisoner releases

The COVID-19 mortality rate in state and federal prisons is twice that of the death rate for the general population, according to the results of a new research released by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, an initiative from the Council on Criminal Justice.

The report found wide disparities among states in rates of COVID-related deaths and cases in prisons. Five states – Arkansas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Ohio, and Delaware – reported prison mortality rates more than eight times higher than rates for their general state populations.

However, some states, including New York and Pennsylvania, reported death rates that were below those for the general population, according to the study.

The Commission’s separate research on the impact of COVID-19 and jails found that jail populations decreased by an average of 31 percent between mid-March and mid-May. This was achieved through reductions in admissions as well as releases. 

As the size of the prison population fell, there were increases in the proportion of people in jail who were: 

  • booked on felony charges
  • male
  • 25 or younger
  • Black.

Even when the prison population started to rise, these changes in the composition of the prison population remained.

The full report on COVID-19 related death and cases in prisons can be read here.

The full report on COVID-19 impact on jail population can be read here.

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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