Image credit: Health Affairs

Racial & Ethnic Inequalities In COVID-19 Mortality Within Carceral Settings: An Analysis Of Texas Prisons


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heightened toll on people incarcerated in prisons in the United States, with those incarcerated experiencing a higher rate of infection and mortality than the US population more generally. What is less well known is the degree to which COVID-19 outcomes differ among incarcerated populations, especially by race and ethnicity, where significant differences have been found among the US population as a whole. This knowledge gap is, in part, due to a lack of reporting of COVID-19 outcomes by race and ethnicity by most state prison systems. To shed light on this topic, we analyzed mortality patterns of the population incarcerated in Texas state prison facilities during both the year before (beginning April 1, 2019) and the first year of (beginning April 1, 2020) the COVID-19 pandemic. We used a unique data set of roster information from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and medical examiner records. COVID-19 mortality was 1.61 and 2.12 times higher for Black and Hispanic populations, respectively, when compared with the White population in Texas prisons. Strategies for COVID-19 mitigation in carceral settings, such as vaccination and decarceration, should include an equity component to minimize disparities. Read the full article here.

Health Affairs, 41(11)
Health COVID-19 Carceral Populations
Neal Marquez
Forecast Program Manager

My research interests include demographics of Hispanics in the United States, contextual influences on population processes, validation of digital trace data, and spatio-temporal bayesian modeling matter.