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The Impact of COVID-19 on Crime, Arrests, and Jail Populations (JFA, 2023) 

03-17-2023 03:34 PM

Beginning in March 2020, local and state criminal agencies took several actions to mitigate the rising number of people being infected with the COVID-19 virus. To address these concerns, a variety of policies were enacted to reduce the number of persons held in jails. These polices were designed to 1) mitigate the number of people being arrested and booked into local jails and 2) reduce the length of stay (LOS) for those admitted to jail. Concurrently, public safety concerns were raised that by lowering the jail populations, crime in the community would increase.

To address these concerns, the JFA Institute (JFA), through resources provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) program, began tracking and analyzing six cities and counties participating in SJC (jurisdictions) and their jail and crime data in real time to monitor the impact of these mitigation activities. In October 2020, the study was expanded to five other jurisdictions and collected the data through December 2020. This report serves as a second expansion to include data through the year 2021, though with a slightly altered set of the eleven jurisdictions.

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