INSTITUTE INDEX: Southern states refuse to release prisoners amid the pandemic

Louisiana is among the Deep South states that have proven reluctant to take action to protect prisoners from COVID-19. Meanwhile, it's moving prisoners stricken with the virus to a unit at the Angola state penitentiary, which is an hour's drive from the nearest hospital with a ventilator. (Photo of Angola by kccornell via Wikipedia.)

Number of states that have taken steps to date to release prison inmates at particular risk from the COVID-19 virus: 20
Number of those states that are in the South: 6
In Florida, one of the states that hasn't taken action to release prisoners, date on which an inmate at the Blackwater River Correctional Facility, a private prison operated by the Boca Raton-based GEO Group, died of COVID-19 : 4/9/2020
Number of days before the public and the lawmakers who oversee Florida's system first learned of the death at Blackwater: 7
Of the 140 inmates tested for COVID-19 in Florida, the number who were positive as of April 19: 44
Total positive results at Blackwater River, which has a capacity of 2,000 inmates: 34
In Louisiana, which also has declined to take action to release prisoners, number of inmates in the state's prisons who have tested positive for COVID-19: 94
Of those 94 inmates, number sent to a health care facility inside the notorious Angola state penitentiary, which is more than an hour's drive from a hospital with ventilators and was already being sued for "grossly deficient" medical care unrelated to the coronavirus: 23
In North Carolina, after civil rights groups filed a lawsuit, number of inmates the state proposed releasing: 500
Of the 770 inmates at the Neuse Correctional Institution, a minimum- and medium-security prison in Eastern North Carolina, number that tested positive for COVID-19 last week: 350
According to the lawsuit, number of North Carolina prison inmates who could require hospitalization if there are not mass releases: 775
Estimate of the total number of people held in local jails across the U.S. who have not been convicted of a crime, according to the Prison Policy Initiative: 470,000
Date on which Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton Jr. advised judges to release from local jails those who are "susceptible to worse-case scenarios" due to crowding: 3/20/2020
Percentage-point drop in Kentucky's jail population two weeks after Minton's order: 6.2
Date on which the Kentucky Supreme Court ordered the release of those awaiting trial for nonviolent, nonsexual crimes. 4/15/2020
Date on which South Carolina Chief Justice Donald Beatty ordered judges to release without cash bail anyone who is not a "flight risk," unless it would lead to "unreasonable danger" for the public: 3/20/2020
In Texas, which has not taken statewide action to release the jailed and imprisoned, number of criminal offenses including marijuana possession and prostitution that judges in Harris County decided would not lead to cash bail under a new pandemic-related policy: 51
Date on which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order that blocked the county's new bail rules: 3/29/2020
Date on a state court struck down Abbott's order: 4/10/2020

Even without action by Louisiana, percent by which the Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans has been able to reduce its prisoner population during the coronavirus outbreak: more than 25

(Click on figure to go to source.)