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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 5:24 P.M. 07.30.2020

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 July 28, at least 78,526 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, an 11 percent increase from the week before.

New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high in mid-July after slowing down in June. The growth was driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in Texas, California and the federal Bureau of Prisons as well as outbreaks in Idaho, Iowa, Oregon and South Carolina.

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 78,526 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

51,148 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 199 101
Alaska * 17 40
Arizona 824 203
Arkansas 3,851 2,338
California 7,706 702
Colorado 841 532
Connecticut * 1,401 1,373
Delaware * 528 1,247
Florida 6,946 787
Georgia 1,166 228
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 772 990
Illinois 360 113
Indiana 706 278
Iowa 372 489
Kansas 925 1,017
Kentucky 807 716
Louisiana 833 570
Maine 4 22
Maryland 641 335
Massachusetts 390 547
Michigan 3,877 1,083
Minnesota 461 553
Mississippi 114 72
Missouri 520 217
Montana 36 91
Nebraska 8 15
Nevada 22 20
New Hampshire 1 4
New Jersey 2,892 1,741
New Mexico 500 790
New York 604 156
North Carolina 1,407 447
North Dakota 8 64
Ohio 5,195 1,124
Oklahoma 117 51
Oregon 412 293
Pennsylvania 304 73
Rhode Island * 18
South Carolina 786 457
South Dakota 5 15
Tennessee 3,213 1,600
Texas 15,241 1,198
Utah 41 68
Vermont * 48 344
Virginia 1,876 656
Washington 315 199
West Virginia 126 257
Wisconsin 299 139
Wyoming 12
Federal 10,779 697
* 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 765 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By July 28, the total number of deaths had risen by 7 percent in a week.

There have been at least 766 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 15 8
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 16 4
Arkansas 27 16
California 47 4
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 8 19
Florida 46 5
Georgia 31 6
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 0 0
Illinois 13 4
Indiana 20 8
Iowa 3 4
Kansas 4 4
Kentucky 8 7
Louisiana 17 12
Maine 0 0
Maryland 8 4
Massachusetts 8 11
Michigan 68 19
Minnesota 2 2
Mississippi 1
Missouri 1 0.4
Montana 0 0
Nebraska 0 0
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire 0 0
New Jersey 49 29
New Mexico 4 6
New York 17 4
North Carolina 8 3
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 88 19
Oklahoma 0 0
Oregon 1 0.7
Pennsylvania 10 2
Rhode Island *
South Carolina 9 5
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 5 2
Texas 102 8
Utah 0 0
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 13 5
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 0 0
Wisconsin 0 0
Wyoming
Federal 105 7
* 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. By late July, only one state, Hawaii, still had not identified any confirmed cases of sick prisoners. 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, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, 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 17,476 prison staff members have tested positive, only 55 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 17,476 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

10,267 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 55 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