A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons

We are collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. See how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.


Prisoner Case

By July 14, at least 64,119 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 13 percent increase from the week before.

New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high this week after slowing down in June. The growth was driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in Texas, California, and the federal Bureau of Prisons as well as outbreaks in Idaho, Iowa, Oregon, and South Carolina.

Cases first peaked in late April, when states such as Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas began mass testing of prisoners. Those initiatives suggested that coronavirus had been circulating among people without symptoms in much greater numbers than previously known.


The first known COVID-19 death of a prisoner was in Georgia when Anthony Cheek died on March 26. Cheek, who was 49 years old, had been held in Lee State Prison near Albany, a hotspot for the disease. Since then, at least 680 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By July 14, the total number of deaths had risen by 5 percent in a week.

Total Case


of coronavirus reported among prisoners. 40,528 prisoners have recovered.
Total deaths


from coronavirus reported among prisoners.
Texas 12,071 861
Federal 8,896 516
California 6,458 545
Ohio 5,082 1,042
Michigan 3,801 1,009
Arkansas 3,482 1,915
Tennessee 3,186 1,506
New Jersey 2,892 1,598
Florida 2,632 287
Virginia 1,530 536
Connecticut 1,346
Georgia 1,064 194
North Carolina 1,052 311
Kansas 910 920
Indiana 728 271
Idaho 694 908
Colorado 668 384
Louisiana 663 210
Maryland 628 334
Kentucky 624 530
Arizona 569 137
South Carolina 563 317
New York 545 127
New Mexico 467 709
Massachusetts 391 478
Minnesota 390 452
Illinois 337 91
Oregon 314 217
Pennsylvania 292 66
Wisconsin 291 129
Delaware 288 623
Washington 277 163
Missouri 245 94
Iowa 224 267
Alabama 138 65
West Virginia 126 245
Mississippi 86 46
Vermont 47 334
Utah 38 62
Rhode Island 18
Nevada 18 14
Oklahoma 11 5
Montana 11 29
Nebraska 8 14
North Dakota 7 56
South Dakota 4 11
Maine 4 20
Alaska 2 4
New Hampshire 1 4
Hawaii 0 0
Source: State and federal prison agencies

Prison Staff

While we know more about how prisoners are getting sick, another group of people is at risk in these facilities: correctional officers, nurses, chaplains, wardens and other workers. We know little about how coronavirus is affecting them, though they have the potential to carry it both into facilities and back out to their communities. It’s difficult to assess how prison workers are being affected because many aren’t being systematically tested.

In the most recent week, 18 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia—released information on the number of their staff members tested for coronavirus. Where we do know about positive cases, most state corrections departments stress that the count includes only the employees who voluntarily report a diagnosis, often in the course of calling out sick.


While more than 13,863 prison staff members have tested positive, only 47 deaths have been publicly reported. As with cases among prisoners, new staff cases this week are at their highest level since we began tracking this data.

Total Case


of coronavirus reported among prison staff. 8,439 staff have recovered.
Total deaths


from coronavirus reported among prison staff.

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