COVID Data Analysis Jail Populations February 9, 2021

Jail Population Trends During Covid-19

The CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance

Throughout 2020, as the extensive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, many municipalities—including those participating in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) — implemented emergency measures to reduce their jail populations. This brief describes how those measures influenced jail populations in SJC sites between February and October 2020. Specifically, the charts and explanatory text that follow illustrate how jail populations and racial and ethnic disparities changed during the pandemic’s early months. The brief is divided into three sections: overall trends, trends by race and ethnicity, and disparities.