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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 5:15 P.M. 10.16.2020

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. 15, at least 147,100 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 3 percent increase from the week before. This was the lowest weekly increase among prisoners since June. The numbers suggest infections are slowing in prisons, while the rest of the nation on the outside starts to observe rising numbers of new cases as autumn sets in.

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 147,100 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

122,766 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 441 228
Alaska * 83 188
Arizona 2,613 663
Arkansas 6,874 4,368
California 15,187 1,560
Colorado 972 645
Connecticut * 1,634 1,712
Delaware * 571
Florida 16,483 1,948
Georgia 1,947 391
Hawaii * 408 980
Idaho 1,991 2,681
Illinois 1,989 637
Indiana 1,320 538
Iowa 1,215 1,650
Kansas 2,486
Kentucky 902 852
Louisiana 2,399 1,676
Maine 4 22
Maryland 967 554
Massachusetts 472 677
Michigan 5,738 1,660
Minnesota 733 968
Mississippi 796 510
Missouri 2,641 1,111
Montana 343 883
Nebraska 242
Nevada 39 34
New Hampshire 1 5
New Jersey 3,030 1,957
New Mexico 567 921
New York 867 234
North Carolina 3,394 1,083
North Dakota 29 245
Ohio 6,584 1,462
Oklahoma 3,964 1,803
Oregon 1,184 877
Pennsylvania 495 115
Rhode Island * 20
South Carolina 2,280 1,386
South Dakota 256 786
Tennessee 5,586 2,902
Texas 23,137 1,910
Utah 343 589
Vermont * 240 1,694
Virginia 3,719 1,420
Washington 492 318
West Virginia 327 755
Wisconsin 2,542 1,203
Wyoming 107
Federal 16,446 1,115
* 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 1,245 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Oct. 15, the number of deaths had its largest one-week rise since mid-May—driven by new deaths reported in California, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, Texas and 13 other states—a jump of 3 percent in a week.

There have been at least 1,246 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 26 13
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 28 7
Arkansas 45 29
California 69 7
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 11
Florida 154 18
Georgia 71 14
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 2 3
Illinois 25 8
Indiana 27 11
Iowa 4 5
Kansas 5
Kentucky 13 12
Louisiana 29 20
Maine 0 0
Maryland 11 6
Massachusetts 8 11
Michigan 74 21
Minnesota 2 3
Mississippi 1
Missouri 2 0.8
Montana 0 0
Nebraska 1
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire
New Jersey 52 34
New Mexico 4 6
New York 17 5
North Carolina 17 5
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 102 23
Oklahoma 20 9
Oregon 14 10
Pennsylvania 11 3
Rhode Island *
South Carolina 31 19
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 25 13
Texas 161 13
Utah 0 0
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 33 13
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 1 2
Wisconsin 3 1
Wyoming
Federal 135 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, 13 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, 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 32,424 prison staff members have tested positive. 86 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 32,424 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

25,697 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