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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 5:30 P.M. 08.06.2020

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 Aug. 4, at least 86,639 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 10 percent increase from the week before.

New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high this week after slowing down in June. The growth was driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in Florida, 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 86,639 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

58,513 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 215 109
Alaska * 23 55
Arizona 1,429 352
Arkansas 4,182 2,539
California 8,382 763
Colorado 860 544
Connecticut * 1,433 1,404
Delaware * 529 1,250
Florida 9,180 1,040
Georgia 1,319 258
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 925 1,186
Illinois 373 117
Indiana 745 293
Iowa 378 497
Kansas 928 1,021
Kentucky 838 743
Louisiana 907 620
Maine 4 22
Maryland 659 345
Massachusetts 390 547
Michigan 4,037 1,128
Minnesota 505 606
Mississippi 390 246
Missouri 572 238
Montana 13 33
Nebraska 10 19
Nevada 22
New Hampshire 1 4
New Jersey 2,960 1,782
New Mexico 505 798
New York 604 156
North Carolina 1,456 462
North Dakota 10 80
Ohio 5,283 1,143
Oklahoma 150 66
Oregon 494 351
Pennsylvania 275 66
Rhode Island * 20 92
South Carolina 975 567
South Dakota 5 15
Tennessee 3,221 1,604
Texas 17,068 1,342
Utah 43 72
Vermont * 149 1,068
Virginia 2,151 752
Washington 360 227
West Virginia 126 257
Wisconsin 307 142
Wyoming 15 75
Federal 11,213 725
* 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 804 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Aug. 4, the total number of deaths had risen by 5 percent in a week.

There have been at least 805 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 16 8
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 21 5
Arkansas 31 19
California 50 5
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 8 19
Florida 54 6
Georgia 33 6
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 1 1
Illinois 13 4
Indiana 20 8
Iowa 3 4
Kansas 4 4
Kentucky 10 9
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
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 86
Oklahoma 0 0
Oregon 1 0.7
Pennsylvania 10 2
Rhode Island * 0 0
South Carolina 10 6
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 5 2
Texas 112 9
Utah 0 0
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 13 5
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 0 0
Wisconsin 0 0
Wyoming 0 0
Federal 109 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 August, 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, 17 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, 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 19,162 prison staff members have tested positive, only 62 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 19,162 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

11,873 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 62 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