Lawmakers introduce ‘COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act'

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 1:53 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - New legislation would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service and state governments to collect and publicly report detailed data about COVID-19 in federal, state and local correctional facilities.

“COVID-19 is continuing to spread like wildfire in our prisons and jails, putting the lives of inmates, staff, and communities at risk.  But BOP and USMS have failed to adequately report data about the number of cases to state government.  Without this critical data, it’s becoming more difficult to treat these facilities as the hotspots they are,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “This legislation takes a step forward in ensuring that local leaders and public health experts have the data readily available to address the needs of these facilities.”

The “COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act” would provide public health experts, policymakers, and the public with information about COVID-19 in correctional facilities. The bill would do this by:

  • Requiring BOP, USMS and state and local correctional facilities to submit the following data to the CDC on a weekly basis, and regularly publish on their websites:
  • Mandating that the data collected and reported be disaggregated by sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, disability and geography
  • Subjecting states that fail to submit the required data to the CDC to a penalty in the form of a 10 percent reduction in future Byrne JAG grant funding

In addition to Durbin, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined as Senate cosponsors.

Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09) and Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) also introduced the Act.

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