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March 25, 2020

Headlines and news stories from jails and prisons in every part of the United States

I fear that I will not have the time and energy this morning to capture a recent headline and story about the coronavirus impact on jails and prison from every single US state.  But, aided greatly by a round-up this morning in The Opening Statement from The Marshal Project, I think I can at least hit every part of our great nation:

National: "'Disaster waiting to happen': Thousands of inmates released as jails and prisons face coronavirus threat"

Federal: "Sick Staff, Inmate Transfers, and No Tests: How the U.S. Is Failing Federal Inmates as Coronavirus Hits"


Arizona: "Concern spreads over potential COVID-19 outbreak in state prisons"

California: "1,700 inmates released from Los Angeles County in response to coronavirus outbreak"

Connecticut: "The DOC, with a first COVID-19 case, still hasn’t announced a plan for inmate release"

Florida: "Florida prison employee tests positive for COVID-19"


Georgia: "DeKalb Jail inmate, employee test positive for COVID-19"

Kentucky: "Chief justice pleads for Kentucky inmate releases ahead of COVID-19, but progress slow"

Louisiana: "More positive coronavirus cases for New Orleans jail staff as inmates await results"

Iowa: "Iowa’s prisons will accelerate release of approved inmates to mitigate COVID-19"


Massachusetts: "COVID-19 cases at Bridgewater prison facility up to 10"

New Jersey: "Inmate at Morris County Jail tests positive for COVID-19"

New York: "New York to release 300 nonviolent Rikers inmates amid pandemic"

Oklahoma: "Over 200 nonviolent offenders released from Oklahoma County jail to limit COVID-19 spread"


Pennsylvania: "Prison guards protest transfers of prisoners from covid-19 hotspots to central PA"

South Dakota: "8 inmates leave S.D. prison after another prisoner tests positive for COVID-19"

Tennessee: "25 People Released From Davidson County Jail in Anti-Outbreak Effort"

Texas: "Coronavirus hits Texas prisons with first inmate case confirmed"

Washington: "14 inmates escape from Washington jail amid COVID-19 shelter-in-place order"


All these headlines, capturing developments nationwide and in 17 states, surely captures only a tiny slice of everything going on these crazy days in incarceration nation. Whew.  Sigh.  Sniff.

March 25, 2020 at 10:03 AM | Permalink


According to a Coronavirus death map I consulted yesterday, I was shocked to see that Louisiana (46 deaths) has more deaths from the Coronavirus than California (42 deaths) does. A doctor friend in Louisiana explained to me that those numbers were caused by the fact that the outbreak of the virus corresponded with Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Many infected people who were not yet displaying any symptoms were partying in close proximity to thousands of other people, thus expediting the spread of the virus; and some of those people would inevitably have ended up in the Orleans Parish Jail (which holds about 1,900 inmates), so I expect to see a major outbreak there in the next week or so. That jail has quite a history. During Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish Jail flooded 3 feet deep, and many guards quit coming to work, as they stayed home to save and move their own families to safety. The Feds stepped in and offered their newly completed (and fully staffed) USP -II, Coleman, Florida as a solution. All of the inmates from the jail were bused across I-10 from New Orleans to Coleman, Florida, where they were locked down in a brand new penitentiary for several months. New Orleans had to pay out on many lawsuits for inmates who were kept in prison past their release dates, because they didn't have or bring any records to Florida from New Orleans. The computer systems at teh jail had shorted out due to the flooding of the jail, and the paper files were soaking wet in their filing cabinets. Little was ever written about the movement of those 1,900 inmates to Florida during Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by: James Gormley | Mar 25, 2020 11:30:06 AM

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