Tracking COVID-19 in Massachusetts Prison & Jails

New Weekly Reporting

On June 23, the SJC issued an order modifying the DOC and HOC reporting responsibilities. Starting the week of July 6, facilities will submit COVID-19 reports once per week rather than once per day. This order also required county and state facilities to report additional metrics, including:
  1. The number of active COVID-19 case reported by the counties/DOC
  2. The number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the counties/DOC
  3. [DOC] The number of individuals released to home confinement reported by the DOC
As such, starting July 8, this site will be updated on a weekly rather than daily basis, with new data published Thursday mornings.

Explore Massachusetts Prisons and Jails' Response to COVID-19

View plots in the different tabs to track testing, positive cases, and releases in prisons and jail during the COVID-19 pandemic, as documented in reports made by Massachusetts prisons and jails to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

About the Data

The data displayed here are compiled from information supplied by county sheriffs and the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) in Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, SJC-12926, a case brought by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (the Massachusetts public defenders), the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the ACLU of Massachusetts. This case seeks releases of incarcerated people to protect them, correctional staffs, and the public from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following an opinion by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in this case on April 3, 2020, sheriffs and the DOC have been required to provide daily reports that shed light on the COVID-19 situation inside Massachusetts prisons, jails, and houses of correction.

Learn more about the history, details, and outcomes of the case at the ACLU of Massachusetts website: Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

The data sourced for all visualizations on this site are available for download here.

Source Code

Interested programmers can view the source code for this app, written in R, on GitHub.

Disclaimer

All data and analysis presented here is subject to change based on updates and amendments received from the counties and the state. For more resources on dealing with inconsistencies in these data, visit our page on external resources.

Dates & Locations of COVID Deaths

Though the June 23 amendment requires reporting of deaths going forward, it did not require retroactive reporting of the time and place of COVID-19 related deaths of incarcerated folks in Massachusetts. The below list reflects the ACLU-MA's best recreation of when and where these deaths occurred, as reported in the media.

  1. April 2, 2020 - DOC - Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC)
  2. April 3, 2020 - DOC - Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC)
  3. April 4, 2020 - DOC - Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC)
  4. April ~13, 2020 - DOC - Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC)
  5. April 16, 2020 - DOC - MCI – Shirley
  6. April ~22, 2020 - DOC - Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC)
  7. April 22, 2020 - DOC - MCI – Shirley
  8. April 30, 2020 - Essex County - Middleton House of Correction (HOC)
  9. May 15, 2020 - DOC - MCI – Shirley
  10. July 2, 2020 - Norfolk County Jail
Please note that potentially COVID-19-related deaths of previous inmates which occurred outside of a correctional facility are not reported here.

Inconsistencies in Reporting

This site exists as a resource to document data which Massachusets prisons, jails, and houses of corrections report to the SJC amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

However, it became evident in the first few days of reports that there were inconsistencies in data collection from the various institutions.

Recommended Resources

To gain additional perspectives on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting incarcerated people in Massachusetts, we recommend the following resources:

Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select location to plot versus time.*

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level prisoner positives on April 13, facility-level staff positives on April 15, and facility-level testing data on April 25.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Reports of COVID-19 prisoner deaths pursuant to SJC 12926

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Dates & Locations of COVID-19 Deaths

  • Before June 23: 10 deaths:
    • DOC: MTC - 5 deaths
    • DOC: MCI-Shirley - 3 deaths
    • Essex - 1 deaths
    • Norfolk - 1 deaths
For information regarding the dates and locations of deaths before June 23, please visit our external resources page.

Reports of COVID-19 prisoner deaths in DOC facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

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Dates & Locations of DOC COVID-19 Deaths

  • Before June 23: 8 deaths:
    • DOC: MTC - 5 deaths
    • DOC: MCI-Shirley - 3 deaths
For information regarding the dates and locations of deaths before June 23, please visit our external resources page.

Select kind of prisoner:

Exact number of releases per county annotated in "Pre-Trial", "Sentenced", "Home Confinements", and "Total" plots.

Prisoners released pursuant to SJC 12926

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select kind of individual:

Exact number of tests per county annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested for COVID-19 pursuant to SJC 12926

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select kind of individual:

Exact number of positive tests per county annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested positive for COVID-19 pursuant to SJC 12926

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Reports of prisoners currently infected with COVID-19, pursuant to SJC 12926
Showing active cases as reported on

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Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Reports of prisoners released at individual DOC facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level releases on April 29. See the Counties + DOC: Total Releases page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select up to three facilities to plot versus time.*

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level releases on April 29. See the Counties + DOC: Releases Over Time page for longer-term totals. **DOC Total reflects the cumulative count of prisoner releases submitted in DOC-wide reports going back to March 27.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select kind of individual:

Exact number of tests per facility annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested for COVID-19 at individual DOC facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level testing data on April 25. See the Total Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three facilities to plot versus time.*

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level testing data on April 25. See the Counties + DOC Tests Over Time page for longer-term DOC tracking **DOC Total reflects the cumulative count of prisoner tests submitted in DOC-wide reports going back to March 27.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select kind of individual:

Exact number of positive tests per facility annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested positive for COVID-19 at individual DOC facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level positive data on April 13. See the Total Positive Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three facilities to plot versus time.*

*The DOC only began reporting facility-level prisoner data on April 13, and facility-level staff data on April 15. See the Counties + DOC Positive Tests Over Time page for longer-term DOC tracking **DOC Total reflects DOC-wide reports, and might undercount prisoner cases as compared to the facility total due to the DOC reporting active, rather than total, cases. Additionally, DOC Total staff includes staff categorized as "Other" while the facility total does not.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Reports of DOC prisoners currently infected with COVID-19, pursuant to SJC 12926
Showing active DOC cases as reported on

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Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

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Select kind of individual:

Exact number of tests per facility annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested for COVID-19 at individual county facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

*Only some counties began reporting facility-level testing data on May 8. See the Counties + DOC Aggregates: Total Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three facilities to plot versus time.*

*Only some counties began reporting facility-level testing data on May 8. See the Counties + DOC Aggregates: Total Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select kind of individual:

Exact number of positive tests per facility annotated in "Prisoners", "Staff", and "Total" plots.

Reports of tested positive for COVID-19 at individual county facilities pursuant to SJC 12926

*Only some counties began reporting facility-level positive data on May 8. See the Counties + DOC Aggregates: Total Positive Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Select population to plot.

Select up to three facilities to plot versus time.*

*Only some counties began reporting facility-level positive data on May 8. See the Counties + DOC Aggregates: Total Positive Tests page for longer-term totals.
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Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

Showing active cases as reported on
Please note that Hampden County is not reporting active cases by facility.

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Select up to three locations to plot versus time.

Please note that Hampden County is not reporting active cases by facility.
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Select value to plot.

All maps reflect data from county jails and HOCs alone, as the Massachusutts DOC has only been reporting facility-level data since April 25th. Maps of tests and positive cases include both prisoner and staff data. Please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.
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Please be aware that the data below is entered in a non-cumulative manner. Values in each row reflect not updated tallies of cases, tests, or releases on the noted day, but rather the number of new cases, tests, or releases in a 24-hour period.
Note: Empty cells denote that the given county did not report that value, while cells with value 0 mean 0 was reported. Additionally, please note that prisoner deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in these data.

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Data analysts at the ACLU of Massachusetts compile the daily reports recieved from the counties and DOC into a single spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is what we source for all visualizations on this site.

Current file size: entries

The accumulated database is available for download here:

Download XLSX