The association between intersystem prison transfers and COVID-19 incidence in a state prison system

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, Katherine LeMasters, Phuc Nguyen, Kathryn Nowotny, David Cloud, Alexander Volfovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prisons are the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Media reports have focused on whether transfers of incarcerated people between prisons have been the source of outbreaks. Our objective was to examine the relationship between intersystem prison transfers and COVID-19 incidence in a state prison system. We assessed the change in the means of the time-series of prison transfers and their cross-correlation with the time-series of COVID-19 tests and cases. Regression with automatic detection of multiple change-points was used to identify important changes to transfers. There were over 20,000 transfers between the state’s prisons from January through October 2020. Most who were transferred (82%), experienced a single transfer. Transfers between prisons are positively related to future COVID-19 case rates but transfers are not reactive to current case rates. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in carceral settings, it is crucial for transfers of individuals between facilities to be limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0256185
JournalPloS one
Volume16
Issue number8 August
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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