The UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, launched in March 2020, tracks the spread and impact of the novel coronavirus in American carceral facilities and advocates for greater transparency and accountability around the pandemic response of the carceral system. The team gathers and presents data about COVID-19 in prisons, jails, youth facilities, and immigration detention centers across the United States. They also collect information about pandemic-related prison and jail releases, legal filings and court orders bearing on the safety of incarcerated people, and grassroots organizing campaigns and fundraisers.
The data are used by the CDC and GAO to impact policy surrounding COVID-19 in prisons, as well as influencing legislation and policy briefs to change how COVID-19 is mitigated in prisons. Making the case for mass releases and improved correctional practices requires evidence about current conditions inside. The historic lack of transparency around what happens within facility walls enables neglect and, ultimately, results in preventable deaths. Even when data are publicly available, they can be difficult to access or interpret. Advocates and organizers both inside and outside carceral facilities have long fought to expose the reality of carceral conditions to public view and called for widespread recognition of the humanity of the people locked inside. The UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project builds on this foundation by responding to the urgent need to collect, share, and act on data related to COVID-19 in prisons and jails.
Explore the Humanities pathways that led to this project
Los Angeles, California, USA