New research forthcoming in Health Affairs identifies high rates of arrests and releases (“jail cycling”) in Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois as a critical driver of COVID-19 in the city and state. Specifically, rates of diagnosed infection were higher in zip codes with higher rates of inmates who were arrested and released, even after accounting for communities’ poverty rate, public transit utilization rate, percent of the population that is Black, and population density. The authors recommend reduced reliance on incarceration as a short term emergency health measure, but also longer-term justice reforms to support broader public health. #covid-19
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