As of March 2021, at least 388,000 incarcerated people have contracted Covid-19, more than one in every five people in U.S. prisons. In the last year, news outlets, watchdog groups, and federal oversight offices have investigated the conditions inside prisons during the pandemic as well as the causes of specific outbreaks.
Documents and reports showed how officials managing vast prison networks, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and those running private prisons, mismanaged the crisis.
As the pandemic spread, officials across the country did not implement proper protective measures or policies that could have lessened the spread.
Across the country, outbreaks occurred in federal and state prisons.
Many of the same problems also arose in detention centers, where nearly 10,000 immigrants have tested positive for Covid-19.
Incarcerated people remain at risk. As of March, only 15 states have begun vaccinating people in prisons, even though 28 percent of incarcerated people have tested positive for Covid-19 (as opposed to 9 percent of the total U.S. population). For more information about oversight of Covid-19 spread among incarcerated people, visit our Oversight Tracker or read more about our investigations.
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