March 27th 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic presents major challenges for communities and employers throughout the United States, there is another population at significant risk for the disease. Many jails are already overcrowded and cannot consistently enact recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for physical distancing and frequent handwashing. Additionally, incarcerated individuals suffer from chronic health issues at higher rates, making the coronavirus crisis of particular concern to jail staff, medical personnel and inmates.
COVID-19 has rapidly created unprecedented dynamics in the criminal justice system. Attempting to balance inmate safety with broader public safety efforts, some states — such as New Jersey and Michigan — are releasing “low-level” offenders and inmates who are especially at risk for serious infection from COVID-19. Though this reduction intends to mitigate risk to employees and inmates, it also increases community risk. At the same time, due to court closures and redirected law enforcement resources, state and county authorities are booking fewer people into jail. They are instead directing deputies to issue “appear in court” notices rather than arrest individuals for low-level offenses.
The latest research from data science experts at Appriss Inc. identifies several states with the highest at-risk jail populations. According to the CDC, older adults are at a significantly higher risk for severe infection and death from COVID-19. Based on the age of the prisoners in Appriss’ data study and the CDC’s research, Appriss ranked Delaware (10.2 percent), Florida (10.1 percent) and California (8.6 percent) as the most at-risk states. Local governments have additional concerns. The differences between urban and rural counties contribute to which jails have a larger percentage of their incarcerated population at risk, with the inmate population in rural county jails running increasingly older than urban areas.
“Our most fundamental institutions are being rocked to their core by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Matthews, president of Appriss Insights, in a statement. “We’re operating in unchartered waters, which makes our incarceration data even more valuable to help keep communities safe by detecting societal shifts that have the potential to impact all of us.”
Read more about how COVID-19 is affecting at-risk jail populations at the Appriss website.
About Appriss® Insights
Appriss Insights is the developer of the Appriss Insights Platform, the nation’s most comprehensive source of incarceration, justice, and risk intelligence data. We are a team of technology and data science experts who provide insights and analytic solutions that support informed decisions for early response to people-driven fraud and risk. By delivering real-time notifications, context-sensitive risk assessments, and actionable insights, we enable government agencies and commercial enterprises to save lives, fight crime, prevent fraud, and manage risk. For more information visit ApprissInsights.com.