Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Summer 2020

Department 1

Public Policy


To evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Pennsylvania prison system, I collected data from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Marshall Project. I supplemented the data with opinion pieces and journal articles discussing the specific issues that this pandemic imposes upon prisons in the United States. In sum, population data collected from the Department of Corrections showed that only a few State Correctional Institutions saw a steady decrease in population over the 25 day study period from from June 18th through July 13th (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, 2020). Combining testing data collected in part from the DOC and in part from the Department of Health, I compared testing rates of surrounding communities (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2020 & PA DOC, 2020). The Marshall Project data demonstrates that testing rates are higher and COVID-19 diagnosis rates are lower among incarcerated persons than among the general population (The Marshall Project, 2020). However, this finding did not hold true for correctional staff, who had a higher rate of diagnosis coupled with a lower testing rate compared to all of Pennsylvania (The Marshall Project, 2020).


Written for PP 470: Public Policy Internship