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 6:00 P.M. 09.23.2020

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 Sept. 22, at least 132,677 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 5 percent increase from the week before.

New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high in early August after slowing down in June. The growth in recent weeks was 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.

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 132,677 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

107,762 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 408 211
Alaska * 63 145
Arizona 2,565 647
Arkansas 6,146 3,906
California 13,710 1,335
Colorado 892 574
Connecticut * 1,558 1,615
Delaware * 546
Florida 16,197 1,881
Georgia 1,851 367
Hawaii * 320 711
Idaho 1,696 2,224
Illinois 1,615 518
Indiana 1,158 456
Iowa 1,012 1,351
Kansas 2,087 2,389
Kentucky 900 818
Louisiana 2,299 1,572
Maine 4 22
Maryland 800 454
Massachusetts 420
Michigan 5,526 1,580
Minnesota 555 717
Mississippi 568 363
Missouri 1,794 751
Montana 112
Nebraska 196
Nevada 35 30
New Hampshire 1 4
New Jersey 3,020 1,903
New Mexico 549 889
New York 773 206
North Carolina 2,579 819
North Dakota 24 194
Ohio 6,194 1,377
Oklahoma 3,168 1,427
Oregon 941 686
Pennsylvania 398 92
Rhode Island * 20
South Carolina 2,050 1,248
South Dakota 124 375
Tennessee 5,328 2,768
Texas 21,653 1,744
Utah 66 112
Vermont * 240 1,727
Virginia 3,542 1,324
Washington 454 291
West Virginia 322 732
Wisconsin 1,077 507
Wyoming 105
Federal 15,016 1,001
* 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 1,107 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Sept. 22, the total number of deaths had risen by 4 percent in a week.

There have been at least 1,108 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 22 11
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 28 7
Arkansas 39 25
California 60 6
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 11 26
Florida 127 15
Georgia 61 12
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 2 3
Illinois 17 5
Indiana 24 9
Iowa 4 5
Kansas 5 6
Kentucky 13 12
Louisiana 27 18
Maine 0 0
Maryland 10 6
Massachusetts 8
Michigan 72 21
Minnesota 2 3
Mississippi 1
Missouri 1 0.4
Montana 0 0
Nebraska 1
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire 0 0
New Jersey 49 31
New Mexico 4 6
New York 17 5
North Carolina 12 4
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 97 22
Oklahoma 9 4
Oregon 7 5
Pennsylvania 11 3
Rhode Island *
South Carolina 27 16
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 17 9
Texas 155 12
Utah 0 0
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 24 9
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 1 2
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Federal 131 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, 14 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, 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.

While more than 28,899 prison staff members have tested positive, only 81 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 28,899 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

21,792 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 81 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