Tracking the statements of Departments of Corrections on the COVID-19 virus

We provide a spreadsheet showing what each state DOC has chosen to tell the public about its virus response plan.

by Tiana Herring and Emily Widra, April 8, 2020

To accompany our work on what the criminal justice system is doing — and should be doing — to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prison Policy Initiative today released a spreadsheet showing what each state Department of Corrections has told the public about its virus response plan. Prepared for internal use, we’re sharing it in the hopes it will save other advocates, journalists and policymakers time looking up the same information.

The spreadsheet includes:

  • Links to each state’s COVID-19 page or its archive of press releases
  • Links to the infection and fatality trackers for each state (about half of all states have this)
  • Notes on whether each state is addressing 15 separate topics, including the suspension of visits, changes in telephone policies, increased access to hygiene materials, employee screening, staffing changes, isolation plans, etc.

This spreadsheet is a useful view into what the state prison systems see as important to communicate to the public, although it is not necessarily the definitive statement on what state prisons are doing. (For example, some states may think that suspending unaffordable medical copays during a global pandemic was too obvious to announce, and other states may be planning to accelerate parole releases but are choosing to be quiet about it. By the same token, states that are stubbornly refusing to change their copay policies,1 for example, are predictably not going to trumpet that fact on their websites.)

Other advocates looking for information on what state prison systems are doing should look at:

We will continue to update the spreadsheet as long as we find it useful internally, and the spreadsheet will always have the last modified date at the top.

 

Footnotes

  1. We are looking at you, Delaware, Hawaii, and Nevada.  ↩

Tiana Herring is a Research Associate at the Prison Policy Initiative. (Other articles | Full bio | Contact) Emily Widra is a Research Analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative. (Other articles | Full bio | Contact)



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