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UPDATE: Data Reporting & Quality Scorecard, Round 3

As the vaccine rollout has picked up, we've updated the transparency scores we're giving each carceral agency. This time, 83% of agencies failed.

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April 26th, 2021

Department of Justice Report Shines Light on the Pandemic in Local Jails

A report released last month by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) contains previously unreleased data showing the spread of COVID-19 in the nation’s jails during the early months of the pandemic. We identified several key takeaways.

April 22nd, 2021

Life Expectancy in Florida Prisons Plummeted During Pandemic, Study Finds

A survey of deaths in Florida prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that average life expectancy for incarcerated people dropped four years, more than quadruple the decline for the U.S. population as a whole

April 19th, 2021

UPDATE: Data Reporting & Quality Scorecard, Round 2

In March, we released our Data Reporting & Quality Scorecards assessing the transparency of each of the 53 major state and federal agencies. On April 12th, we reassessed the scores and grades for each agency. In the first round of assessments, 75% of correctional agencies received an F. In this round, 81% of agencies did.

April 15th, 2021

Data Projects Submit Joint Testimony to Congress on the Bureau of Prisons’ Mismanagement of the Pandemic in Federal Prisons

The UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project, the COVID Prison Project, and the COVID, Corrections, and Oversight Project at the University of Texas at Austin submitted joint testimony to Congress outlining failures by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to manage and report on COVID-19 in its facilities.

April 15th, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy Behind Bars: Some Causes and Concerns

A new MMWR study finds that distrust of correctional institutions and lack of information are leading causes for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among incarcerated people. Correctional agencies must take crucial steps to inspire confidence in the vaccine and encourage uptake of this life-saving inoculation.

April 7th, 2021

SARS-CoV-2 Variants go to Prison: What Now?

In the last two months, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants has been reported in three prison systems. The variants are more contagious and can accelerate viral spread. To avoid a corresponding increase in infections and deaths, corrections officials must adopt a multi-pronged strategy of regular testing, vaccination, and decarceration.

April 2nd, 2021

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Is Even Less Transparent Than We’d Thought

In recent weeks, the BOP has reported a decrease in total COVID-19 cases — an illogical trend for a number that presumably can only increase over time. An agency spokesperson informed us that the drop in reported cases was not, in fact, an error. Rather, it was the outcome of an intentional reporting choice.

March 30th, 2021

Two Months (And Counting) Without Critical COVID-19 Data from Pennsylvania Prisons

In January, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections removed its data dashboard due to “technical challenges.” More than two months later, we’re still missing critical data.

March 25th, 2021

Data Project Adds ICE Detention Page to its Website

This week, we added a page to our website showing the spread of COVID-19 among people in ICE detention.

March 22nd, 2021

“An Afterthought”: A Few of The Ways That The Prison Law Office Has Renewed Longstanding Battles For Prisoner Rights and Safety During the Pandemic

The Prison Law Office has adapted its longstanding battles against overcrowding, inadequate health care, and other dangerous conditions in jails and prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 17th, 2021

Missing the Mark: Data Reporting & Quality Scorecard

We created a scorecard to assess 53 state and federal carceral agencies on what COVID-19 data they report and how they report them. 41 agencies — more than 75% — failed.

March 9th, 2021

Data Project Adds Vaccine Counts to Data Dashboard

We've added a table to our home page showing the numbers of incarcerated people and staff in certain state and federal systems who have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

March 3rd, 2021

Prisons mistreat loved ones’ belongings after their deaths, some families say

Families report that correctional staff have mishandled or neglected their relatives’ personal effects after their deaths, adding pain to already tragic circumstances. During the pandemic, more and more families have become familiar with the especially devastating consequences of losing a loved one behind bars, whether of COVID-19 or of other causes.

February 25th, 2021

New Analysis Reveals Devastating Toll of COVID-19 on Prison Employees

A new article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found that staff of U.S. prisons are three times as likely to contract COVID-19 as the general U.S. population. The study’s authors cross-referenced data collected by the UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project with publicly available personnel data from state and federal departments of corrections to measure the scale of what they called an “unprecedented occupational hazard” for employees of American prisons.

February 18th, 2021

Who’s Getting the Vaccine Behind Bars?

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available to more and more people across the United States, one especially vulnerable population is often left behind: people who are incarcerated.

February 17th, 2021

Which State and Federal Carceral Systems Report COVID-19 Data?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project has been collecting COVID-19 data from the online dashboards maintained by correctional agencies nationwide. These agencies vary in what and how much data they publicly report. We’ve created visualizations to highlight the gaps in reporting by state and federal correctional agencies as of February 17, 2021.

February 16th, 2021

Vaccine Guide in Prison Legal News

This month, the UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project published an article in Prison Legal News addressing common concerns about the coronavirus vaccines among incarcerated people deciding whether to be vaccinated.