Jails and prisons are not facilities that lend themselves easily to the kind of social distancing communities on the outside are being told to maintain during the coronavirus pandemic.
It is an especially uncertain time for incarcerated people, correctional workers and their families. Here’s a running list of reported COVID-19 cases in Georgia’s jails, prisons and detention facilities, as well as relevant policy updates. We’ll do our best to keep this updated with what we know.
A note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 25% of people who are infected with the coronavirus may not show symptoms. There is also an ongoing shortage of testing and protective equipment throughout the United States. The CDC’s latest guidance for correctional and detention facilities can be found here.
These lists represent the cumulative number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in prisons, jails and detention centers. Some of those who have tested positive may have since recovered.
Georgia Department Of Corrections
There are 34 state prisons in Georgia. Corrections officials suspended visitation at all of them on March 12. The department’s approximately 10,500 employees supervise almost 54,000 state prisoners. More details on GDC policies during coronavirus here.
On March 31, inmates at Central, Hancock and Pulaski state prisons began making an estimated 85,000 masks so that each staff member and inmate can have two.
Parole Board Updates:
On March 31, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles announced it is considering clemency releases for people serving time for nonviolent offenses who are within 180 days of completing their sentences. The majority will be released to community supervision.
The board projects this may lead to the release of 175 to 200 inmates within 30 days.
Metro Atlanta Jails
Jails Across Georgia
Georgia has 183 jails across 159 counties. They hold an estimated 39,000 people, according to a 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative. Local jail responses to the coronavirus vary widely.
Detention Center Centers
Stewart County Detention Center
One of the country’s largest immigration detention centers, Stewart Detention Center, can hold about 2,000 detainees. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility is run by a private government contractor called CoreCivic.