The conditions and characteristics of correctional facilities - overcrowded with rapid population turnover, often in old and poorly ventilated structures, a spatially concentrated pattern of releases and admissions in low-income communities of color, and a health care system that is siloed from community public health - accelerates transmission of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19. Such conditions increase the risk of coming into contact with the virus for incarcerated people, correctional staff, and their families and communities. Relative to the general public, moreover, incarcerated individuals have a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions such as asthma, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, making them susceptible to complications should they become infected. Indeed, cumulative COVID-19 case rates among incarcerated people and correctional staff have grown steadily higher than case rates in the general population.
Decarcerating Correctional Facilities during COVID-19 offers guidance on efforts to decarcerate, or reduce the incarcerated population, as a response to COIVD-19 pandemic. This report examines best practices for implementing decarceration as a response to the pandemic and the conditions that support safe and successful reentry of those decarcerated.