80 percent of Texas inmates who died from coronavirus were not convicted of crime

Prison populations have been largely ignored as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages communities.

Approximately 80 percent of all Texas inmates who died from COVID-19 were in pre-trial detention and had not yet been convicted of a crime. 

The data was provided to The University of Texas at Austin from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In their work, university researchers found that 11 out of 14 people who died had not been convicted. 

An aerial view of an emergency care facility erected on the baseball field at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California to treat inmates suffering from one the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in the nation. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Further, according to the lengthy report, which was synthesized by The Hill, most people who died in Texas prisons after conviction were found guilty of “person offenses,” which include assault and murder.  

The report notes that 10 percent of coronavirus victims who died in prison had been found guilty of drug crimes. 

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At least 231 people in prison have died of the COVID-19 virus in Texas, the state that became the first to reach one million positive coronavirus cases this week. Mobile refrigeration units have been mobilized there to accommodate the rising death toll. 

Prison inmates who had preexisting conditions that may have been exacerbated by the virus were not included in the 231 death count, and many other prisoners may have died without ever having been tested for COVID-19. 

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Nine inmates who died in prison were awaiting parole. Another 21 had served 90 percent or more of their sentences, and 58 percent were eligible for parole. 

Prison populations during the COVID-19 pandemic have been largely ignored as the virus ravages communities. In California, an appeals court ordered officials at San Quentin State Prison to reduce its prisoner population by 50 percent, ruling last month that the prison had demonstrated a “deliberate indifference” to the effects the virus was having on its population. 

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According to Associated Press, almost 75 percent of San Quentin’s inmate population had tested positive for COVID-19 at the peak of the facility’s outbreak, and 28 prisoners had died.

The spread of the coronavirus within prisons has also had a significant impact on greater communities located nearby as workers commute back home from the facilities and have contact with their families. 

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