Inmate Coronavirus: As recent outbreaks threatened to reverse control measures earlier in the pandemic the number of prison inmates testing positive for the coronavirus soared well past 50,000 this month.
Of those, at least 35,796 have recovered, and at least 616 offenders have passed, the data showed.
Among the employees, more than 11,180 instances of coronavirus have been reported, including 43 deaths.
As of June 30, only Wyoming and Hawaii still had not identified any confirmed cases of coronavirus among offenders.
New cases in prisons began to drop last month, with less of the rapid growth seen in the spring when other states, and Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas started mass testing of prisoners, the data shows.
But by the end of June, new outbreaks in Arkansas, California, and Texas started to push up the numbers.
The most inmate deaths were recorded by the federal Bureau of Prisons at 94. States were led by Ohio with 86, with the most deaths. More than inmates have tested positive.
Coronavirus outbreaks in prison are an indictment of mass incarceration in the U.S., with many systems warehousing people in situations that produce social distancing impossible, said Nicole Porter, director of advocacy for The Sentencing Project.
Porter said the response by governors has been insufficient, with minimal releases of inmates in states in an effort to free up space. At the very least, authorities should be moving to release all inmates scheduled this season, to get out, she said.
For example, in Louisiana, a state panel approved only 100, of which 63 will be released, The Advocate reported.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has defended his government’s handling of the pandemic in prisons, noting that he has ordered about 3,500 early releases, plans about 3,500 more and stops transports from local jails to create more space in prisons for social isolation.
Six states — Tennessee, Ohio, and Arkansas, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey have disease rates more than one in every 10 inmates, according to the Marshall Project data.
Prison advocates in Ohio are currently using the pandemic to market legislation working its way through the Statehouse that would reduce the number of people.
The state says it reduced Ohio’s prison population by 3,170 offenders — a 6.5% drop — because March through several measures, such as releasing inmates early, the normal expiration of sentences, and temporarily suspending intakes of male prisoners from county jails, though that policy has since stopped.