US prisoners have higher mortality rates from COVID-19

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

A research letter to JAMA has reported that US prisoners in federal and state prisons had higher adjusted risks of COVID-19-related mortality compared to the general US population.

By 6 June 2020, there had been 42,107 cases of COVID-19 and 510 deaths among 1,295,285 prisoners with a case rate of 3,251 per 100,000 prisoners.

Crude COVID-19 death rates were 39 vs 29 deaths per 100, 000 in prisoners vs general population respectively.

After adjusting for lower age in prisoners, the death rate in the prison population was 3.0 times higher than the US general population.


Saloner B et al. COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Federal and State Prisons. JAMA, research letter. DOI:10.1001/jama.2020.12528. (8 July 2020).

This report was first published on 12 July 2020.

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