graph showing trends in monthly prison releases in 2019, 2020, and 2021

Data Source: Data compiled by the Prison Policy Initiative from state Departments of Corrections' publicly available monthly and annual reports. These ten states were chosen because they published monthly release data for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Massachusetts' release data is presented quarterly and no data is yet available for 2021. (Graph: Emily Widra, 2021)

This graph originally appeared in With over 2,700 deaths behind bars and slow vaccine acceptance, prisons and jails must continue to decarcerate.

These ten states published monthly release data for 2019, 2020, and the beginning of 2021. While not nationally representative, these ten states show that fewer people have been released from these state prisons in response to COVID-19 in 2020 than in 2019. We’re also seeing that at the start of 2021, prison releases are even lower.

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