Tracking the pandemic behind bars

Assistant Professor Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein co-founded the COVID Prison Project to track the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and encourage policies and procedures to protect those populations.

A graph of COVID-19 testing transparency in state prison systems.
(Infographic courtesy of the COVID Prison Project)

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, an assistant professor in the department of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, and colleagues at the University of Miami and Tufts University have launched the COVID Prison Project, which aims to encourage policies and procedures that protect one of the most vulnerable but least-cared-about populations.

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein (Image courtesy of UNC Health)

Through the COVID Prison Project, they hope to provide the data and analyses that will encourage states to reduce the populations and adopt other measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 in detention centers, which, by their very communal design, amplify the risks of exposure.

“Correctional settings have become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in America, and our group knew early on that understanding what was happening in prison systems was going to be very important,” said Brinkley-Rubinstein.

Read more about how the research team is using their data to pinpoint where the pandemic is spiking in prison facilities.