Understanding the Impact
of the COVID-19 Pandemic
on People in Prison

The coronavirus has disproportionately endangered our most vulnerable communities.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 3,000 incarcerated individuals have died from COVID-19, and hundreds of thousands more have been sick with the virus. Poor conditions in our jails, prisons, immigration detention facilities, and refugee camps have exacerbated the negative impacts of the pandemic. Lack of adequate healthcare has further worsened the impact on populations already especially vulnerable to the virus.

Free and Safe: Coronavirus and the Criminal Justice System

On any given day, there are 1.8 million people locked up in America’s jails and prisons and an additional 3.9 million people are on some form of community supervision such as probation or parole. During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system have been especially vulnerable.

Here you will find stories of how the coronavirus pandemic impacted individuals in the criminal justice system and their loved ones.

Racial Disparities in Incarceration and Coronavirus

At the height of the pandemic, data from states and cities around the United States demonstrated that Black and Latino people got sick and died from the coronavirus at alarming and heavily disproportionate rates.
People of color in the United States are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions, more likely to work in jobs that expose them to the virus, and less likely to be tested and treated when ill.
All of these existing disparities are concentrated and compounded in America’s system of mass incarceration.

COVID-19: State-Level Data

The numbers clearly show that COVID-19 in prisons is a public health crisis.

COVID-19 & Mississippi

A Public Health Crisis in Arizona Prisons

By the Numbers

COVID-19 and the Criminal Justice System

Issue Center

Your Deep Dive:

Protecting Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic