Hidden Figures: Rating the COVID Data Transparency of Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Agencies   [open html - 0B]

From the Executive Summary: "Our findings reflect a mixed picture when it comes to the sharing of COVID [coronavirus disease] data about prisons. On the positive side: [1] Every state is tracking and reporting at least a minimal level of data with respect to the number of COVID cases and deaths in prisons, usually broken down by facility -- this is the most essential information. [2] Every state but one provides this COVID data on their prison agency website, usually on a clearly marked COVID data dashboard. However, some states do not provide sufficient information about tests, cases, and deaths from COVID to enable a good understanding of the numbers or to show how the situation is changing over time. And most prison agencies are not reporting other critical information that would help users get a clearer picture of how COVID is affecting people who live and work in the facilities and who is most affected. [...] Our findings reveal an enormous gap in our knowledge base about a system that impacts millions of Americans each year. Not only are incarcerated people and staff affected by the spread of the virus in the jail, but so too are nearby communities and the families of people in the jail impacted since there is such high turnover in the jail population. The tight connection between the jail and the community -- and the need for state and local policymakers to implement informed strategies to protect incarcerated people, jail staff, and community members -- drives home the need for data transparency."

2021 The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
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