November 2nd, 2021Alix M.B. Lacoste, Erika Tyagi, and Hope Johnson

Fast, frequent, and widespread: COVID-19 outbreaks inside federal prisons

Over the course of the pandemic, nearly 50,000 people in federal prisons have been infected with COVID-19, and at least 256 people have died after testing positive. As studies have shown, the rates of infection and mortality in federal prisons — like in state prisons, ICE detention centers, and other carceral settings — have been much higher than the overall rates in the United States throughout the pandemic.

We have conducted a deeper analysis of the pandemic inside federal prisons and identified several alarming patterns behind these numbers: across the federal prison system, outbreaks have been frequent and wide-reaching. After being first detected inside facilities, these outbreaks have also spread extremely quickly.

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