As daily COVID-19 cases hit record levels across the U.S. this week, the infection rate among people incarcerated in state prisons continued to dramatically outpace that of the general public.
The following two charts show the latest trends and analysis from The Council of State Governments Justice Center:
1. The COVID-19 infection rate for incarcerated people last month reached more than four times that of the general population.
From April through June, the pace of COVID-19 infection rates among people incarcerated in state prisons largely mirrored that of the general public. This took a turn at the end of July as the virus began to spread more aggressively behind state prison walls.
While incarcerated people account for the majority of infections in prisons, the latest data also show that corrections staff are impacted at more than 2.5 times the rate of the general population.
2. This week, the number of COVID-19 cases reported in state prisons reached its highest peak since the pandemic began.
Nearly every week since April, the number of COVID-19 cases reported by state prisons has hit a new peak—and showed no indication of slowing down.
The latest numbers reported on October 30 are the highest since April: 139,323 positive cases among incarcerated people and 30,752 among corrections staff. In just the last month, the numbers have increased by 16.8 percent among incarcerated people and 22 percent among corrections staff.
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