To examine disparities by sex, age group, and race and ethnicity in COVID-19 confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among incarcerated people and staff in correctional facilities.
Six U.S. jurisdictions reported data on COVID-19 confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths stratified by sex, age group, and race and ethnicity for incarcerated people and staff in correctional facilities during March 1- July 31, 2020. We calculated incidence rates and rate ratios (RR) and absolute rate differences (RD) by sex, age group, and race and ethnicity, and made comparisons to the U.S. general population.
Compared with the U.S. general population, incarcerated people and staff had higher COVID-19 case incidence (RR = 14.1, 95% CI = 13.9–14.3; RD = 6,692.2, CI = 6,598.8–6,785.5; RR = 6.0, CI = 5.7–6.3; RD = 2523.0, CI = 2368.1–2677.9, respectively); incarcerated people also had higher rates of COVID-19-related deaths (RR = 1.6, CI = 1.4–1.9; RD = 23.6, CI = 14.9–32.2). Rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among incarcerated people and corrections staff differed by sex, age group, and race and ethnicity. The COVID-19 hospitalization (RR = 0.9, CI = 0.8–1.0; RD = -48.0, CI = -79.1- -16.8) and death rates (RR = 0.8, CI = 0.6–1.0; RD = -11.8, CI = -23.5- -0.1) for Black incarcerated people were lower than those for Black people in the general population. COVID-19 case incidence, hospitalizations, and deaths were higher among older incarcerated people, but not among staff.
With a few exceptions, living or working in a correctional setting was associated with higher risk of COVID-19 infection and resulted in worse health outcomes compared with the general population; however, Black incarcerated people fared better than their U.S. general population counterparts.