This report describes the impact of COVID-19 on the local jail population during the 6-month period from January to June 2020, including the impact on the release of jail inmates, admissions to jails, jail capacity, and incarceration rates. It includes data on COVID-19 tests and data on confirmed and suspected deaths due to COVID-19 among jail inmates and staff.
- Local jails in the United States experienced a large decline (down 185,400 inmates) in their inmate populations from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020, which can be attributed mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The impact of COVID-19 on local jails began in March 2020, with a drop of 18% in the inmate population between the end of February and the end of March, followed by an 11% drop by the end of April.
- From March to June 2020, about 208,500 inmates received expedited release in response to COVID-19.
- During the pandemic, jail facilities became less crowded, as indicated by the decrease in occupied bed space from 81% at midyear 2019 to 60% at midyear 2020.