Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Report: local jail populations fell 25% in early spring due to fewer arrests, more releases; continuing may help fight virus

From mid-March to mid-April the number of people in local jails in the U.S. fell by an "unprecedented" one-fourth, according to a newly released analysis by the Vera Institute of Justice. Intake was down because defendants who would normally be arrested were allowed to stay home, law enforcement made fewer arrests, and many judges and prosecutors allowed early release of prisoners deemed low-threat.

"But as the United States faces continued outbreaks of covid-19, it is crucial to recognize that de-carceration has still been inadequate, from both a public safety and a public health perspective," says Vera, which advocates reform of justice and corrections systems. "Maintaining recent reductions and further reducing jail populations will make communities safer in the coming months and years by reducing the likelihood and severity of future outbreaks of covid-19 and enabling reinvestment of state and local dollars into community-based services and resources that support public health and public safety."

Jails and prisons continue to be a major source of coronavirus spread in rural areas, due to lack of social distancing, cleanliness issues, and detainee transfers to prisons and jails.

The Marshall Project has frequently updated data on covid-19 prison deaths by state.

No comments: