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Study Reveals Lasting Effects of Pandemic on Correctional Systems

For correctional systems throughout the country, staffing shortages, loss of trust among community members, and disruptions to programming and services were among the greatest challenges faced by prisons and jails, according to respondents of a national study about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on state and local correctional systems. The study also signaled progress in corrections. Systems throughout the country adopted new technologies and increased collaboration with system partners. Together, they engaged in information-sharing and health-related activities in efforts to comply with frequently changing public health guidelines. A summary of these and further results are published in Effects of COVID-19 on Prison Operations, a report funded by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and produced in partnership with the Correctional Leaders Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Organized with summaries of key topics and takeaways, Effects of COVID-19 on Prison Operations features survey and focus group insights from corrections leaders, healthcare providers, line staff, human resources professionals, and training providers. Of particular interest are the accounts from these professionals that reveal how the pandemic affected them personally and throughout their local criminal justice system. Lessons learned and shared in the report can help systems improve approaches to public health emergencies in the future and the long term.

Cover image for Effects of COVID-19 on Prison Operations