80% Of COVID-19 Deaths In Texas Jails Were People Without Convictions

Nearly 231 people in Texas prison have died from COVID-19, according to a report from the University of Texas at Austin

Researchers from the university found that approximately 80% of those who died from coronavirus did not have convictions and were in pre-trial detention

The report used data provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).  

Most of the people in Texas prisons who died from the virus were charged with “person offenses,” this category includes robbery, murder, sexual assault, and and simple assault. 

This group, according to The Hill, made up a disproportionate greater amount, nearly 73% of those who died from the virus while imprisoned, while they only make up 57% of the total state prison population. 

The report goes on to detail that 10% of those who have died had drug convictions, 6% had a property conviction, and 11% had other convictions. 

The researchers noted in the report that the total number of coronavirus-related deaths could be higher because autopsies of people who are incarcerated can sometimes take months. 

They added that the number could be higher because some people may have “died without ever having been tested for COVID.” 

The university’s report only included data from state-run prisons and county jails, not federal prisons or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. 

As a state, Texas has seen a continuous surge in cases. As of November 12 the Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 994,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 19,000 deaths in the state. 

People who are incarcerated are among several other vulnerable populations, considering the large amounts of people in an enclosed space. Concern is also warranted for nearby communities as prison employees travel between home and work. 

Photo: Getty Images

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