Michigan Department of Corrections Response to COVID-19
Jails across the state of Michigan saw a significant decrease in prisoner population due to early releases due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of inmates across Michigan’s County Jails decreased by more than half during this time; starting at a jail population of about 18,000 and now down to about 8,000 inmates. The Michigan Department of Corrections (Michigan’s prison system) saw significant decreases as well as both jails and prisons alike face significant challenges in keeping the prisons sanitized and safe from COVID-19. COVID-19 has infected more than 4,100 Michigan prisoners and 420 employees. 68 prisoners who were infected died along with three Michigan Department of Corrections employees. When an inmate tests positive for the virus, it can pose a significant challenge for that prison to contain the spread. Quarantining in a prison is also the same as solitary confinement, which is usually reserved for the most dangerous offenders and serves as a type of punishment for bad behavior in the prison system.