Statement from Vera President Nicholas Turner on the COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act

Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), and Representative Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), alongside Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representative Val Demings (D-FL-10) and Representative David Trone (D-MD-6) introduced the COVID in Corrections Data Transparency Act, bicameral legislation to further COVID-19 data collection in jail and prisons, with revised language to include vaccination data.

Vera Institute of Justice President Nicholas Turner issued the following statement in support of the bill:

The COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act is an important step forward for public health, community well-being, and fairness. From the beginning of the pandemic, people who are incarcerated or detained and those who work in jails, prisons, and detention centers have been at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In fact, Vera’s analysis of recent outbreak data finds that many of the largest COVID-19 clusters in the country are in jails and prisons, outnumbering those in nursing homes and meatpacking plants.

An equitable COVID-19 response must address the needs of the most vulnerable, including incarcerated people. This legislation would provide key information for coordinating responses to COVID-19, including decarceration, prevention, and treatment, for those living and working in jails and prisons. It also would help us to understand the extent of disparities in the virus's spread and impact, by requiring facilities to report data on race, ethnicity, sex, age, and other demographics. Reintroducing this legislation, with revised language to include vaccination data, will help to address inequities in our system and will ultimately help us save lives.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:
The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

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