Search About Donate
0

A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons

The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. See how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.

Coronavirus Updated 7:43 P.M. 11.20.2020

Since March, The Marshall Project has been tracking how many people are being sickened and killed by COVID-19 in prisons and how widely it has spread across the country and within each state. Here, we will regularly update these figures counting the number of people infected and killed nationwide and in each prison system until the crisis abates.

This reporting was undertaken in partnership with The Associated Press.

Cases

By Nov. 17, at least 197,659 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, an 8 percent increase from the week before.

New infections the week of Nov. 17 reached their highest level since the start of the pandemic after rising sharply the week before. The new surges far outpaced the previous peak in early August. Michigan, Wisconsin and the federal prison system each saw more than 1,000 prisoners test positive.

Reported cases first peaked in late April, when states such as Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas began mass testing of prisoners. Those initiatives suggested that coronavirus had been circulating among people without symptoms in much greater numbers than previously known.

There have been at least 197,659 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

140,001 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 775 410
Alaska * 521 1,180
Arizona 2,815 714
Arkansas 8,566 5,444
California 18,247 1,875
Colorado 2,933 1,952
Connecticut * 1,749 1,832
Delaware * 618 1,466
Florida 16,999 2,009
Georgia 2,182 438
Hawaii * 953 2,290
Idaho 2,284 3,076
Illinois 3,347 1,072
Indiana 1,859 758
Iowa 2,985 4,055
Kansas 4,539 5,290
Kentucky 2,056 1,942
Louisiana 2,428 1,696
Maine 150 841
Maryland 1,199 687
Massachusetts 846 1,213
Michigan 9,763 2,825
Minnesota 2,744 3,622
Mississippi 889 570
Missouri 4,226
Montana 880 2,265
Nebraska 577 1,069
Nevada 577 500
New Hampshire 1 5
New Jersey 3,144 2,031
New Mexico 1,266 2,056
New York 1,709 461
North Carolina 4,909 1,566
North Dakota 318 2,684
Ohio 7,299 1,620
Oklahoma 5,404 2,459
Oregon 1,365 1,011
Pennsylvania 1,544 360
Rhode Island * 279 1,262
South Carolina 2,396 1,457
South Dakota 2,078 6,378
Tennessee 5,941 3,086
Texas 25,781 2,128
Utah 1,161 1,993
Vermont * 240 1,694
Virginia 4,260 1,627
Washington 610 394
West Virginia 606 1,399
Wisconsin 7,047 3,334
Wyoming 391 1,996
Federal 22,203 1,506
* An asterisk denotes state counts that include both pre-trial detainees and sentenced prisoners under a unified system of jails and prisons.

Source: State and federal prison agencies
Deaths

The first known COVID-19 death of a prisoner was in Georgia when Anthony Cheek died on March 26. Cheek, who was 49 years old, had been held in Lee State Prison near Albany, a hotspot for the disease. Since then, at least 1,453 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Nov. 17, the total number of deaths had risen by 3 percent in a week.

There have been at least 1,454 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 32 17
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 28 7
Arkansas 48 31
California 83 9
Colorado 6 4
Connecticut * 8 8
Delaware * 11 26
Florida 187 22
Georgia 80 16
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 5 7
Illinois 36 12
Indiana 33 13
Iowa 7 10
Kansas 11 13
Kentucky 13 12
Louisiana 30 21
Maine 0 0
Maryland 13 7
Massachusetts 8 11
Michigan 75 22
Minnesota 3 4
Mississippi 1
Missouri 22
Montana 2 5
Nebraska 3 6
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire 0 0
New Jersey 52 34
New Mexico 8 13
New York 18 5
North Carolina 22 7
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 111 25
Oklahoma 32
Oregon 16 12
Pennsylvania 21 5
Rhode Island * 0 0
South Carolina 31 19
South Dakota 3 9
Tennessee 27 14
Texas 168 14
Utah
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 34 13
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 2 5
Wisconsin 10 5
Wyoming 0 0
Federal 152 10
* An asterisk denotes state counts that include both pre-trial detainees and sentenced prisoners under a unified system of jails and prisons.

Source: State and federal prison agencies
What's happening in your state

Given the huge differences in how many people are being tested in prisons for the virus, the effects of the pandemic have varied widely between different state prison systems. The first reported cases began popping up in Massachusetts and Georgia on March 20. In August, Hawaii, the last system whose prisoners had not gotten sick, reported its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. Here, you can choose to view the data for any state prison system and see how the numbers compare. For a summary of the number of cases in facilities run by the federal Bureau of Prisons, choose the “Federal” option.

Each represents

Each represents one new death

Known cases per 10,000 prisoners
Current case data not available
Deaths per 10,000 prisoners
Current death data not available
Tests administered per 10,000 prisoners
Current testing data not available
Source: State and federal prison agencies, The COVID Tracking Project
Prison staff

While we know more about how prisoners are getting sick, another group of people is at risk in these facilities: correctional officers, nurses, chaplains, wardens and other workers. We know little about how coronavirus is affecting them, though they have the potential to carry it both into facilities and back out to their communities. It’s difficult to assess how prison workers are being affected because many aren’t being systematically tested.

In the most recent week, 15 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia—released information on the number of their staff members tested for coronavirus. Where we do know about positive cases, most state corrections departments stress that the count includes only the employees who voluntarily report a diagnosis, often in the course of calling out sick.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 46,155 prison staff members have tested positive—with new cases at an all-time high the week of Nov. 17. Ninety-eight deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 46,155 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

30,574 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 98 deaths from coronavirus reported among prison staff.

Each represents one new death

The staff members in your state

We know very little about how many staff are tested, and in many states it’s not clear how many people are working in prisons right now. What we do know is that in several states prison employees began to get sick before the people they oversee. Using this tool, you can view the data for any state’s prison system and see how the numbers compare. For a summary of the number of cases in facilities administered by the federal Bureau of Prisons, choose the “Federal” option.

Each represents

Each represents one new death

Known cases per 10,000 staff
Current case data not available
Deaths per 10,000 staff
Current death data not available
Tests administered per 10,000 staff
Current testing data not available
Source: State and federal prison agencies, The COVID Tracking Project