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New Report Finds Prison Inmates Twice As Likely To Die from COVID-19

According to a new report released on Wednesday, incarcerated people are twice as likely to die from coronavirus in prison than those on the outside.

Kevin T. Schnepel, assistant professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, found that the mortality rate in state and federal prisons is twice as high as in the general population. The infection rate is even more drastic, with close to 7,000 cases per 100,000 incarcerated people, more than four times the rate of cases per 100,000 people in the general public.

The report was published by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, which was created by the Council on Criminal Justice to study the effects of the pandemic on the U.S. criminal justice system.

While the numbers as a whole are alarming, the rates vary widely between states.

According to CNN, “Prisons with the most Covid-19 cases were those operated by state governments, those in the South, and large prisons, while the highest mortality rates were at large prisons and those in the Midwest. The worst adjusted mortality rates were among prisons in Arkansas, New Mexico, Kentucky and Ohio, the analysis found. By contrast, in New York, where nearly 33,000 people died of coronavirus, just 17 deaths were reported in state prisons.”

Schnepel says that more research is needed to determine why there are such wide variations between state infection and mortality rates.

Sources: NCCCJ 8/2/20; CNN 8/3/20; WDJT Milwaukee 8/3/20