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The nation’s correctional facilities are deeply entangled with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.1 The criminal justice policies that drove mass incarceration have created fertile ground for the pandemic. According to the COVID Prison Project, by August 2020, 90 of the largest 100 cluster outbreaks in the United States have occurred in prisons and jails.2 Many correctional facilities are overcrowded and understaffed, and the high rates of incarceration among Black, Latino, and Native communities map closely with the demographic pattern of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections and COVID-19–related death.
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Corresponding Author: Emily Wang, MD, MAS, SEICHE Center for Health and Justice, Yale School of Medicine, 367 Cedar St, Harkness Bldg A, Ste 410A, New Haven, CT 06511 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: November 16, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.22109
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Additional Contributions: The members of the consensus committee that authored the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report Decarcerating Correctional Facilities During COVID-19: Advancing Health, Equity, and Safety were Emily Wang (cochair, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine); Bruce Western (cochair, Department of Sociology, Columbia University); Donald Berwick (Institute for Healthcare Improvement); Sharon Dolovich (University of California, Los Angeles Law School); Deanna Hoskins (JustLeadershipUSA); Margot Kushel (Center for Vulnerable Populations, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco); Hedwig Lee (Department of Sociology, Washington University in St Louis); Stephen Rafael (University of California, Berkley); Josiah Rich (Department of Medicine, Brown University); John Wetzel (Department of Corrections, Pennsylvania); and Emily Backes (study director) and Julie Schuck (program officer, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine).
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