UCLA School of Law has created expansive databases that keep track of developments related to COVID-19 in prisons and jails nationwide. Launched amid the mounting coronavirus crisis — including reports of infections in high-risk places where large numbers of people are packed into tight quarters — the resources address two key areas.
- “COVID-19 Correctional Policies & Responses” allows prisoners’ advocates, journalists and others in the public to access or contribute data on how the pandemic is impacting incarcerated people, correctional officers and other personnel.
- “Statutory Release Powers” comprises a state-by-state survey of all sources of legal authority that allow officials including sheriffs, judges and governors to release people from custody in response to the pandemic.
“It is hard to overstate the scale of the danger COVID-19 poses to people being held in prisons and jails,” said UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich, faculty director of the law school’s Prison Law and Policy Program. “Virtually every carceral institution in the country is overcrowded, and you can’t practice social distancing in overcrowded facilities.”