More than 200 incarcerated people and staff at Texas prisons and jails have died from coronavirus, report shows

  • Hundreds of incarcerated people and staff at jails and prisons in Texas have died from coronavirus, according to a new report by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 102 out of the 190 incarcerated individuals in prison who died from coronavirus were eligible for parole and 11 of the 14 in jail who died from coronavirus were not convicted of a crime, per the report. 
  • "[We] do not have control over COVID-19 in our prisons and jails in Texas, and that [is] resulting in a devastating loss of life for both incarcerated people and staff," the report's project director told Business Insider.
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Incarcerated individuals and staff at jails and prisons in Texas are dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates, a new report shows. 

More than 200 incarcerated people and personnel in Texas' jail and prison facilities have died from coronavirus, according to a report from researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, which cites data collected between March and last month.  

Among the 190 incarcerated individuals in prison who died from coronavirus, 102 of them were eligible for parole, according to the report. And out of the 14 incarcerated individuals in the state's jails who died from coronavirus, 80% were not convicted of a crime, per the report. 

"The big picture takeaway is that there's been a devastating toll from the coronavirus on prisons and jails in Texas," Michele Deitch, a distinguished senior lecturer at UT Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs and project director of the report, told Business Insider. 

Over 80% of the incarcerated individuals who died of coronavirus in prisons in Texas were over the age of 55, the report stated. Data shows older adults are more vulnerable to coronavirus-related death.

According to the study, Texas and Florida follows Ohio and Michigan as one of the US states with the highest coronavirus-related deaths in prison per 10,000 people.

"[We] do not have control over COVID-19 in our prisons and jails in Texas, and that [is] resulting in a devastating loss of life for both incarcerated people and staff," Deitch said. 

Coronavirus' spread in prison facilities has been widely reported across the country during the pandemic. For example, in August, the Bay Area's San Quentin State Prison reported over 2,200 cases of coronavirus among about 3,200 people.

People who are incarcerated are highly vulnerable to the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The packed spaces in prison and jail facilities pose additional challenges when fighting the spread of the disease, Business Insider's Haven Orecchio-Egresitz previously reported.  Business Insider's Nicole Einbinder and Angela Wang's investigation in July reported that many incarcerated individuals in prisons often were limited in access to tests, neglected when seeking medical help, and potentially punished for reporting signs of coronavirus. 

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