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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309683579
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 01/18/2021
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 1,124,682
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Summary 1

1 Introduction 11

Study Charge and Scope 12

What Is Decarceration? 15

Magnified Inequity in the COVTD-19 Pandemic 16

Approach to This Study 18

Report Purpose and Audiences 19

Organization of the Report 20

2 Correctional Facilities and COVID-19: Context and Framing 21

The Basic Epidemiology of COVID-19 21

The Correctional System as an Amplifier of COVID-19 Spread 23

The Scope of the Outbreak 32

Mitigating Transmission in Correctional Facilities 41

Conclusion 44

3 Considerations for Decarceration 45

Balancing Public Safety and Public Health 45

Prison and Jail Depopulation in 2020 50

Conclusion 60

4 Community Systems for Decarceration 63

Discharge Planning 63

Health Care 69

Housing 71

Employment and Income Supports 75

Conclusion 78

5 Guidance for Depopulating Correctional Facilities 79

Mitigating the Spread of the Virus 80

Guiding Principles of Equity and Transparency 86

Taking Action: The Committee's Conclusions and Recommendations 88

Preparedness for Future COVID-19 Outbreaks and Pandemics 102

Data Needs and Research Recommendations 103

Conclusion 106

References 109


A Recidivism, Incarceration, and Crime 129

B Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 141

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