How Can You Learn If Your Loved One's Prison Had a Coronavirus Outbreak?

How Can You Learn If Your Loved One’s Prison Had a Coronavirus Outbreak?

You have several ways to find out about a coronavirus outbreak at a prison. Depending on where your loved one is in prison, you might even have easy access to good information. In other cases, you might have to do some research on your own.

Will the BOP notify you of a COVID outbreak at your loved one’s prison?

No. The Bureau of Prisons will not notify you if there is a coronavirus outbreak at your loved one’s prison. You may not even know if your loved one has gotten COVID-19. In general, the BOP will only contact you in the worst situations. For example, if your loved one has died or cannot act on their own, the BOP will reach out. This might be very worrying. In most states, prisoners are near the end of the list for COVID-19 vaccines.

Image depicting a prison coronavirus outbreak.
Image courtesy of Anna Shvets from Pexels.

How can you find out about COVID statistics for a federal prison?

The BOP actually provides useful and easy-to-read coronavirus outbreak statistics on its website. It updates the site each weekday. You can view a summary of the numbers. The site also provides a clickable map that lets you see each facility. When you click on a location, you can see the number of active cases there. It also tells you how many prisoners and how many staff members have COVID.

The site also provides other information related to coronavirus and prisoners. You can learn about vaccine rollouts at each facility as well. Finally, the site has information about testing at BOP prisons.

How can you find out if there is a coronavirus outbreak at a state prison?

Some states offer data on coronavirus outbreaks in prisons that you can use just like the BOP. For example, Missouri lists public data on its Department of Corrections website. You can find out if your state has data you can access like this. To do that, search on the internet for “{your state} COVID prison data.” Look for official results from the state’s Department of Corrections. Usually, these will be on sites that end in “.gov.”

If your state does not have this kind of information, you do have other ways to learn more. Several websites have COVID dashboards that let you search records by county. Look up coronavirus data for the county where the prison is. If you see a surge, it is possible that there is an outbreak at the prison. But this is not enough information on its own. The surge could be related to something else, such as a school, church or other location. If you are worried, you can also try calling the prison. The prison may not tell you if there is an outbreak.

Another simple way to find out if there is a coronavirus outbreak at your loved one’s facility is to speak with your loved one. They should know if there is an outbreak. If you don’t hear from them like you usually would, it’s possible that they are on lockdown or in quarantine because of COVID. It is scary when you don’t hear from your loved one during times like this. But it’s often best to remain calm until you speak to them again.

Image depicting a prison outbreak due to coronavirus.
Image courtesy of RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

The Takeaway:

The BOP will not contact you if there is a coronavirus outbreak at your loved one’s prison. But the BOP does keep track of COVID outbreaks in prisons. You can access this information on the BOP’s website. This will give you both summary information and numbers for each individual prison. Some states offer this information online, too. If not, you can use online tools to see COVID numbers for the county where your loved one’s prison is. You can also try to contact your loved one in prison to learn more.

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