Mass incarceration and COVID-19: Assessing the relationship between the economy of incarceration in Georgia counties and cumulative COVID-19 incidence from March 1st to December 31st, 2020 Open Access

Reishus, Katelin (Spring 2021)

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The purpose of this study is to determine if a county’s level of incarceration is associated with overall COVID-19 incidence. The aim of this project is to explore this relationship by modeling the cumulative county incidence of COVID-19 and the presence of large correctional facilities or the percent of the population that is incarcerated in that county. Negative binomial regression was used to assess the relationship between COVID-19 incidence in each of the 159 Georgia counties between March 1st and December 31st, 2020 and the number of large correctional facilities or the percent of the county population incarcerated in large correctional facilities. Several covariates are included in this analysis including urbanicity, number of long-term care facilities located in the county, obesity, race, ethnicity, lack of health insurance, unemployment rates, and education. Ten models were run to assess this relationship and none of the models yielded a statistically significant relationship. Despite the lack of evidence in this study, more research is needed to better understand the impact of the carceral complex on the surrounding community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents                                                                                           


Background on the correctional industry in the U.S.

Economic impact of the prison industrial complex

Vulnerability of the population

Transmission and correctional complexes



Data Description and Sources

Negative binomial regression






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