Covid In-Custody Project

Investigative journalism on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on California's state prisons and county jails.

We collect and analyze COVID-19 data using the Public Records Act or public sources.

Our work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Mercury News, among other publications, and our data is available on the UCLA School of Law’s COVID-19 tracker for carceral facilities across the United States.

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

COVID-19 Preventive Measures in Northern California Jails: Perceived Deficiencies, Barriers, and Unintended Harms

Frontiers in Public Health

“These knowledge gaps are especially dire for jails, which generally have worse data transparency than prisons despite their potentially outsized role in COVID-19 transmission” (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

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

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

Meet the Team

Aparna Komarla

Founder & Director

Yu Na Choi

Data Lead

Yu Na is studying International Relations at Seoul National University and is an exchange student studying Political Science at UCLA. She is from Seoul, Korea

Anjali Govindapanicker

Data Journalist Intern

Anjali is studying Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis. She is from Concord, CA.

Anumita Alur

Data Journalist Intern

Anumita is studying Cognitive Science and Public Health at UC Davis. She is from Saratoga, CA

Cassie Gorman

Reporting Intern

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

Sophia Baltasar

Data Journalist Intern

Sophia is studying Global Disease Biology at UC Davis. She is from Millbrae, CA.

Suzanne Stitt

Data Journalist Intern

Suzanne is studying Statistics at UC Davis. She is from San Jose, CA.

Anchal Lamba

Data Journalist Intern

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

Avynash Bains

Data Journalist Intern

Avynash is studying Global Disease Biology at UC Davis. She is from El Sobrante, CA.

Former Staff

Julietta Bisharyan

Data Journalist Intern

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

Tiffany Devlin

Data Journalist Intern

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

Dorrin Akbari

Data Journalist Intern

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

Minerva Melendrez

Data Journalist Intern

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

Nick Gardner

Data Journalist Intern

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

Angela Khov

Data Journalist Intern

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

Ned Meiners

Data Journalist Intern

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

Yasmeen Khan

Data Journalist Intern

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

Roshni Sudharsan

Data Journalist Intern

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

Anna Zheng

Data Journalist Intern

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

Aziza Nussipov

Data Journalist Intern

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

Christine Phan

Data Journalist Intern

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

Richa Uprety

Data Journalist Intern

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