Chart showing the estimated number of COVID-19 cases, per 100,000 residents, expected in nonmetro counties between May 1 and August 1, 2020, depending on the number of incarcerated people per square mile within the county. With no incarceration, an average county could expect about 794 new cases per 100,000 over those three months. But counties at the 90th percentile for incarceration could expect 911 new cases per 100,000, and those at the 95th percentile could expect about 1,075 new cases per 100,000 over the same time period.

Data Source: For source and methodology details, see: www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/covidspread.html. (Graph: Wendy Sawyer, 2020)

This graph originally appeared in Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread.

The estimated number of COVID-19 cases expected in nonmetro counties between May 1 and August 1, 2020, depending on the number of incarcerated people per square mile within the county (and controlling for other relevant factors). This chart displays point estimates (as circles), and the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence interval (the vertical lines). This chart shows that, all else being equal, nonmetro counties with high incarcerated population densities (such as rural counties with large prisons) had more new cases of the novel coronavirus than nonmetro counties with less incarceration did between May 1 and August 1, 2020. In counties with incarcerated population densities placing them in the top 10% of all nonmetro counties, the case rate per 100,000 residents was at least about 15% higher (90th percentile) and even over 35% higher (95th percentile) than those with little to no incarceration.

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