Covid In-Custody Project

Quantitative and qualitative investigative journalism on the pandemic's impact on California's state prisons and county jails.

See how the virus affected 35 facilities under the Department of Corrections and local jails in Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Yolo and Fresno counties.

Our Data

Collaborators & Partners

The UCLA Law Covid Behind Bars Project is an initiative to track COVID-19 cases and testing in carceral institutions across the country. Our county jails data is accessible through their master dataset on GitHub.
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Dr. Hadar Aviram is a Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. Our county jails data, including details about vaccine uptake, testing refusal rates, and compliance with public health orders is accessible through her personal website.
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The Davis Vanguard is a local criminal justice news reporting organization. Our articles on policies, decision making, and general developments in COVID-19 mitigation strategies of prisons and jails are accessible on the Vanguard website.
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Featured In

Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy among residents of Northern California jails

ScienceDirect

“Surveys conducted prior to vaccine availability have suggested lower willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine among jail residents than prison residents, but data on actual COVID-19 vaccine uptake in jails is scarce.” (References: Komarla, A. COVID-19 vaccination data in California jails: lessons from an imperfect model.
)
Yiran E. Liu et al.
Stanford Medicine & Law

COVID-19 policies in practice and their direct and indirect impacts in Northern California jails

medRxiv

"Given these differences, the lack of data from county jail systems has been cited as an obstacle to evidence-based interventions in this unique setting" (References: Komarla, A,
COVID-19 vaccination data in California jails: lessons from an imperfect model.
Komarla, A.
S.F.’s jails are leading California in COVID prevention. How are they doing it? No one knows.
)
Yiran E. Liu et al.
Stanford Medicine & Law

Newsom is afraid of a winter COVID surge? Then do something about prison crowding

San Francisco Chronicle

"In the Sacramento County Jail, from Oct. 6 to Nov. 11, COVID cases increased by 2,580%, resulting in 4% of its jailed population having an active case of COVID" (References: Covid In-Custody Project’s datafor Sacramento County and Alameda County jails)

Sharon Dolovich, Amanda Klonsky and Hope Johnson
UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Project

Jails, Sheriffs, and Carceral Policymaking

Vanderbilt Law Review

"Sheriffs claimed that they could not release anyone from detention absent a court order or prosecutor’s agreement.” (References: Linh Nguyen & Aparna Komarla, Santa Rita Jail Does Not Administer or Recommend COVID Testing Prior to Quarantine Release.)

Aaron Littman,
UCLA Law

Pandemic Eugenics: Discrimination, Disability, & Detention during COVID-19

Loyola Law Review

“As of December 2020, San Quentin has had 2,243 cases and twenty-eight COVID-19 related deaths” (Reference: Jaskiran Soomal, COVID-19 Could Only Have Reached Death Row Via Staff. Many of Us Believe This Was Intentional.)

Laura I Appleman,
Willamette University College of Law

Bottleneck: The Place of County Jails in California’s COVID-19 Correctional Crisis

Hastings Journal of Crime and Punishment

“One such resource is a regional collection effort by the Davis Vanguard, which includes an accessible database covering several counties." (References: Tiffany Devlin, et al. Breaking Down COVID-19 in California Jails)

Hadar Aviram,
UC Hastings Law

Meet the Team

Aparna Komarla

Founder & Director

Julietta Bisharyan

Intern, CDCR

She is an upcoming student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is from San Francisco, CA.

Tiffany Devlin

Intern, Alameda County Jails

She studied Criminal Justice at San Francisco State University. She is from Richmond, CA.

Dorrin Akbari

Intern, CDCR

She studied Legal Studies at UC Berkeley and graduated in 2019. She is from San Jose, CA.

Minerva Melendrez

Intern, Sacramento County Jails

She is studying Political Science & Psychology at UC Davis. She is from Pittsburg, CA.

Nick Gardner

Intern, CDCR

He is studying Political Science and Technology Management at UC Davis.

Angela Khov

Intern, Santa Clara County Jails

She is studying Human Development at UC Davis. She is from Redwood City, CA.

Ned Meiners

Intern, Fresno County Jails

He received a paralegal certification from City College of San Francisco. He is from San Francisco, CA.

Yasmeen Khan

Intern, CDCR

She is studying Political Science & Legal Studies at University of San Francisco.

Roshni Sudharsan

Intern, Alameda County Jails

She is studying Political Science at Boston University. She is from Newark, CA.

Anna Zheng

Intern, Sacramento County Jails

She is studying International Relations and Economics at UC Davis. She is from Sonoma, CA.

Aziza Nussipov

Intern, San Francisco County Jails

She is studying Political Science at UC Davis. She is from Sacramento, CA.

Christine Phan

Intern, CDCR

She is studying Managerial Economics & Statistics at UC Davis. She is from San Jose, CA.

Richa Uprety

Intern, CDCR

She is studying Statistics & Economics at UC Davis. She is from Fremont, CA.