COVID-19 Mismanagement: A Fractured Prison System

Covid has claimed more than 2,700 lives behind bars and infected 1 out of every 3 people in prison, a report from the Prison Policy Initiative rated prisons’ responses in fall 2021

Tiana Lockett
Tiana Lockett
& Mckayla Buckley
& Mckayla Buckley

The Study's Critical Points

Prison Policy Initiative assessed departments of corrections across the United States on the following criteria: their ability to limit the number of people in prison, reduce infection and death rates, vaccinate the population, and provide basic necessities of health.


  • Above all states, New Jersey received the highest rating for its ability to meet the criteria. 

  • Following behind New Jersey is California due to their heightened efforts of providing vaccinations, extending state offerings of free calls and dismissing medical co-pays. 

  • Despite the composite scores, there were a few states who excelled in a single category.

    • North Dakota, New Jersey, and Oregon all received high scores for providing vaccinations.

    • New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois all reduced their prison populations. 

Read the whole study here

Visual Breakdown

Above: A graphic depicting the impact of covid on incarcerated people.

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Design Contributor for The Des, current undergraduate of design and political science at the University of Washington.