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Impact of COVID-19 on the Local Jail Population, January-June 2020

NCJ Number
255888
Date Published
March 2021
Agencies
BJS
Publication Series
Publication Type
Statistics
Annotation

This report describes the impact of COVID-19 on the local jail population during the 6-month period from January to June 2020, including the impact on the release of jail inmates, admissions to jails, jail capacity, and incarceration rates. It includes data on COVID-19 tests and data on confirmed and suspected deaths due to COVID-19 among jail inmates and staff.

Abstract

This report describes the impact of COVID-19 on the local jail population during the 6-month period from January to June 2020, including the impact on the release of jail inmates, admissions to jails, jail capacity, and incarceration rates. It includes data on COVID-19 tests and data on confirmed and suspected deaths due to COVID-19 among jail inmates and staff. Highlights from this report include:

  • Local jails in the United States experienced a large decline (down 185,400 inmates) in their inmate populations from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020, which can be attributed mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on local jails began in March 2020, with a drop of 18% in the inmate population between the end of February and the end of March, followed by an 11% drop by the end of April.
  • From March to June 2020, about 208,500 inmates received expedited release in response to COVID-19.
  • During the pandemic, jail facilities became less crowded, as indicated by the decrease in occupied bed space from 81% at midyear 2019 to 60% at midyear 2020.
Date Created: March 10, 2021