Canary in the Coal Mine title over a large TDCJ badge superimposed over a set of prison bars, with a disposable face mask hanging off one of the bars.

Canary in the Coal Mine: A Profile of Staff COVID Deaths in the Texas Prison System

Feb. 22, 2022
This report reveals the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic on prison workers in Texas. We found that Texas has some of the worst COVID outcomes among prison staff in the country, even when controlling for size. What's more, in Jan 2021, the Texas prison agency stopped reporting deaths from COVID among people who are incarcerated, making it difficult to assess the true toll of the virus behind bars. The report suggests that deaths and infections among staff may be a proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” warning that the true impact of COVID in Texas prisons has yet to be fully revealed.
Dead man waiting cover. Blue font on white background.

Dead Man Waiting: A brief profile of deaths in Texas prisons among people approved for parole release

June 1, 2021
In a first-of-its-kind analysis, “Dead Man Waiting,” shows that while deaths among parole-approved people increased during the COVID period, this population was already dying in large numbers from other chronic health issues while awaiting release. The report was the subject of a full-length NBC News NOW story, featuring families of people who died after parole approval, as well as several other prominent news outlets.
Who oversees the overseers. Black text on white background.

But Who Oversees the Overseers? The Status of Prison and Jail Oversight in the United States

May 6, 2021
Updating and expanding upon Michele’s 50-state inventory of prison oversight models published in 2010, this article provides background information about the nature, value, and history of correctional oversight; documents the shifting landscape and increasing momentum around the oversight issue over the last decade; and provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of prison and jail oversight in the US today.
Cover of Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures: Rating the COVID Data Transparency of Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Agencies

March 7, 2021
Using a grading rubric we developed from key metrics every state should be reporting with respect to COVID in correctional facilities, “Hidden Figures” reveals a troubling lack of transparency about data regarding the spread, toll and management of COVID-19 in state prisons, local jails and state-run juvenile facilities. The report also offers a set of recommendations on ways corrections agencies and state and local leaders could improve data transparency.
Government executive article. Black text on white background.

Correcting Corrections: Lessons for Prisons and Jails in a Post-COVID World

Jan. 4, 2021
The ultimate lesson of the COVID crisis in our prisons and jails is this: Addressing the issues it has surfaced is not just a good idea, it is a moral imperative. We need to have the vision and courage to correct corrections and work toward a system that is more worthy of our values and ideals—one that uses a public health lens to help build resiliency. For that is the true underpinning of a safer community.
Locked out looking in cover. Red font on gray background.

Locked Out, Looking In: How Correctional Oversight Agencies are Adapting During the COVID Crisis

Nov. 30, 2020
The creative strategies that oversight bodies have been using to gather information about what is happening behind bars during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cover of COVID and Corrections.

COVID and Corrections: A Profile of COVID Deaths in Custody in Texas

Nov. 7, 2020
The report provides groundbreaking data on the impact of COVID-19 in state-operated prisons and county-operated jails in Texas. We found that, as of October 2020, Texas had more COVID infections and deaths among incarcerated people and staff than any other state in the country. The report drew national attention and was featured in over 700 news stories.