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 5:45 P.M. 10.23.2020

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 Oct. 20, at least 152,955 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 4 percent increase from the week before. The number of new cases rose after three weeks of drops, while the rest of the nation on the outside starts to observe rising numbers of infections.

New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high in early August after slowing down in June, driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in Florida, California and the federal Bureau of Prisons as well as outbreaks in Arkansas, Hawaii and Oklahoma.

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 152,955 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

122,682 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 459 237
Alaska * 159 360
Arizona 2,621 665
Arkansas 7,084 4,502
California 15,306 1,572
Colorado 1,197 795
Connecticut * 1,669 1,749
Delaware * 571
Florida 16,599 1,962
Georgia 1,966 394
Hawaii * 430 1,033
Idaho 1,994 2,685
Illinois 2,110 676
Indiana 1,385 565
Iowa 1,238 1,682
Kansas 2,828 3,296
Kentucky 938 886
Louisiana 2,405 1,680
Maine 4 22
Maryland 993 569
Massachusetts 472 677
Michigan 6,207 1,796
Minnesota 886 1,169
Mississippi 797 511
Missouri 3,044 1,280
Montana 458 1,179
Nebraska 242
Nevada 41 36
New Hampshire 1 5
New Jersey 3,050 1,970
New Mexico 671 1,089
New York 977 264
North Carolina 3,798 1,212
North Dakota 79 667
Ohio 6,714 1,490
Oklahoma 4,223 1,921
Oregon 1,214 899
Pennsylvania 649 151
Rhode Island * 20
South Carolina 2,315 1,408
South Dakota 442 1,357
Tennessee 5,613 2,916
Texas 23,283 1,922
Utah 343
Vermont * 240 1,694
Virginia 3,856 1,472
Washington 499 322
West Virginia 336 776
Wisconsin 2,973 1,407
Wyoming 107
Federal 17,449 1,183
* 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 1,275 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Oct. 20, the total number of deaths had risen by 2 percent in a week.

There have been at least 1,276 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 27 14
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 28 7
Arkansas 47 30
California 70 7
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 11
Florida 161 19
Georgia 74 15
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 3 4
Illinois 27 9
Indiana 27 11
Iowa 4 5
Kansas 5 6
Kentucky 13 12
Louisiana 29 20
Maine 0 0
Maryland 11 6
Massachusetts 8 11
Michigan 74 21
Minnesota 2 3
Mississippi 1
Missouri 4 2
Montana 0 0
Nebraska 1
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire 0 0
New Jersey 52 34
New Mexico 4 6
New York 18 5
North Carolina 18 6
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 104 23
Oklahoma 21 10
Oregon 16 12
Pennsylvania 13 3
Rhode Island *
South Carolina 31 19
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 27 14
Texas 160 13
Utah
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 33 13
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 1 2
Wisconsin 3 1
Wyoming
Federal 136 9
* 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, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, 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 34,188 prison staff members have tested positive. 86 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 34,188 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

25,868 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 86 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