U.S. Prison Population Remained Stable as Pandemic Grew


Professor John Pfaff was quoted in The New York Times on coronavirus’ effect on prison populations and how state governors are responding.

The United States prison population remained stable in the early months of the year, decreasing by just 1.6 percent from January through March even as prisons emerged as incubators for the spread of Covid-19, according to a report released on Thursday.

The prison population in five states — Idaho, Iowa, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — was larger on March 31 than it was at the end of 2019, according to the study.

But there is resistance to releasing prison inmates because of a fear that they will commit crimes after they are set free, said John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School.

“Governors are all afraid that is what will happen,” Mr. Pfaff said. “For most governors, it is better to have 20 coronavirus deaths in prison than to have one furloughed inmate commit a crime.”

Read the full article.


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