Keep people in correctional facilities safe and healthy

Updated June 15, 2021

Prison and jail facilities have proved to be difficult places to implement public health measures like frequent hand washing and social distancing, and many of them have struggled. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides over $50 billion for states and local communities to implement measures that prevent virus transmission and reduce infection rates.

Funding Breakdown

Name  Total Amount Description Administering Agencies Eligible Entities  Distribution Mechanisms  End Date 
Funding for COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Mitigation Activities 


$47.8 billion  Conduct activities to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor COVID19 infections and related strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID19. 


Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  State, local, and territorial public health departments  Grants awarded through existing cooperative agreements and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vehicles, including the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Cooperative Agreement 


Available until expended 


Funding for COVID19 Vaccine Activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


$7.5 billion  Plan for, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track COVID19 vaccines. 


CDC  State, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments  Base formula and alternative allocation grants  Available until expended 
Funding for Community-Based Funding for Local Behavioral Health Needs  $50 million  Provide mental and behavioral health training, increase telehealth services, and expand mental and behavioral health preventive and crisis intervention services.  HHS  State and local governments, community nonprofits and health organizations  Grants  Available until expended 

The ARP provides for an additional $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for communities to address local fiscal priorities in response to the pandemic. Learn more about how to use these funds to advance safety and justice goals in our guide. State, local, and tribal governments can request recovery funds directly through the Treasury’s website.

Key Takeaways 

1. Increase COVID-19 testing and contact tracing: States and local communities can use ARP resources for COVID-19 screening and testing supplies and equipment to allow for regular, broad-based testing that can quickly identify and contain virus outbreaks. ARP funds can also help build capacity for contact tracing within correctional facilities to prevent disease transmission.

2. Invest in mitigation measures: ARP resources can be used to implement an array of strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within and among correctional facilities. This can include reconfiguring spaces for isolation and quarantine as well as expanding the use of virtual technology to minimize in-person contacts for programs and services.

3. Expand vaccine uptake in correctional facilities: Jurisdictions can prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for people incarcerated in correctional facilities using ARP resources. Funds can also be used to address vaccine hesitancy—particularly among corrections staff—including education on the increased risk of contracting the virus in correctional settings and incentives to encourage vaccination.

Other Resources

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About the Author

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Nicole Jarrett
Director, Corrections and Reentry
Dr. Nicole Jarrett directs the Corrections and Reentry Division at the CSG Justice Center. She previously served as the division's deputy director, guiding the organization's grantee technical assistance, coordinating support to jurisdictions that are developing and implementing diversion, treatment, and
reentry initiatives. Nicole previously served as the director of health policy research at the National Medical Association, where she led projects to strengthen the public health safety net and improve the quality of care provided in underserved communities. She also served as the director of community health policy at the Baltimore City Health Department, where she directed the city’s participation in the Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved Initiative. She received her BS from Rutgers University, her PhD in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center of Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research at Rutgers University.
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