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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 5:35 P.M. 09.18.2020

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. 15, at least 125,730 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 4 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 125,730 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners.

102,732 prisoners have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

State Total cases Per 10,000 prisoners New cases over time
Alabama 403 208
Alaska * 57 132
Arizona 2,511 634
Arkansas 5,834 3,707
California 12,125 1,180
Colorado 888 572
Connecticut * 1,558 1,615
Delaware * 546 1,302
Florida 15,983 1,856
Georgia 1,813 359
Hawaii * 310 689
Idaho 1,604 2,103
Illinois 1,356 435
Indiana 1,124 443
Iowa 837 1,117
Kansas 1,939 2,220
Kentucky 896 814
Louisiana 2,085 1,426
Maine 4 22
Maryland 767 435
Massachusetts 420 597
Michigan 5,423 1,551
Minnesota 532 688
Mississippi 555 354
Missouri 1,525 639
Montana 112 287
Nebraska 11
Nevada 35 30
New Hampshire 1 4
New Jersey 3,010 1,897
New Mexico 525 850
New York 755 201
North Carolina 2,389 759
North Dakota 24 194
Ohio 6,112 1,359
Oklahoma 2,106 949
Oregon 907 661
Pennsylvania 391 91
Rhode Island * 20
South Carolina 1,994 1,214
South Dakota 25 76
Tennessee 5,183 2,693
Texas 21,562 1,736
Utah 63 107
Vermont * 240 1,727
Virginia 3,127 1,169
Washington 454 291
West Virginia 316 719
Wisconsin 953 448
Wyoming 105 529
Federal 14,215 948
* 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 1,065 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By Sept. 15, the total number of deaths had risen by 5 percent in a week.

There have been at least 1,066 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners.

Each represents one new death

State Total deaths Per 10,000 prisoners New deaths over time
Alabama 21 11
Alaska * 0 0
Arizona 27 7
Arkansas 39 25
California 60 6
Colorado 3 2
Connecticut * 7 7
Delaware * 11 26
Florida 117 14
Georgia 59 12
Hawaii * 0 0
Idaho 2 3
Illinois 14 4
Indiana 24 9
Iowa 4 5
Kansas 5 6
Kentucky 13 12
Louisiana 26 18
Maine 0 0
Maryland 10 6
Massachusetts 8 11
Michigan 70 20
Minnesota 2 3
Mississippi 1
Missouri 1 0.4
Montana 0 0
Nebraska
Nevada 0 0
New Hampshire 0 0
New Jersey 49 31
New Mexico 4 6
New York 17 5
North Carolina 11 3
North Dakota 0 0
Ohio 94 21
Oklahoma 4 2
Oregon 6 4
Pennsylvania 11 3
Rhode Island *
South Carolina 24 15
South Dakota 0 0
Tennessee 16 8
Texas 155 12
Utah 0 0
Vermont * 0 0
Virginia 19 7
Washington 2 1
West Virginia 1 2
Wisconsin 0 0
Wyoming 0 0
Federal 129 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, 18 states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming—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 27,632 prison staff members have tested positive, only 77 deaths have been publicly reported.

There have been at least 27,632 cases of coronavirus reported among prison staff.

20,285 staff have recovered.

Each represents 10 new cases

There have been at least 77 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