The COVID-19 mortality rate in state and federal prisons is twice that of the death rate for the general population, according to a new study. A separate report found that local jail populations decreased by an average of 31 percent in March before rising again in May.
New York City reached the largest settlement over an inmate’s death at the Rikers Island jail complex, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to the family of Layleen Polanco, a transgender woman who died there last year solitary confinement.
Homelessness is currently between 7.5 and 11.3 times more prevalent among the jail population, and as evictions increase during COVID-19, homeless people are 11 times more likely to be arrested nationwide than those who are housed, according to a study from the Vera Institute of Justice.
Both the speed and magnitude of the decline were unprecedented, according to a report by the Vera Institute of Justice. However, the researchers called this effort “inadequate” and said much more decarceration work remains.
An ACLU study of 29 U.S. cities has found no correlation between the early release of detainees from the cities’ jails due to COVID-19 fears and any increase in crime in those cities between March and May.
Mayor Bill De Blasio and Board of Correction Chair Jennifer Jones Austin formed a working group to eliminate punitive-segregation practices. The board will vote this fall on recommendations from the four-person panel.