Vaccination Rates Among Employees in State Departments of Corrections

Due to the nature of confinement in congregate settings with its limited physical space, it is difficult for individuals to isolate or distance from one another. Exposure to COVID-19 in these settings are thus high and can affect both those who are incarcerated and staff members. Therefore, vaccinations are crucial in mitigating COVID-19 infections. Given that employees are in contact with both the general and incarcerated population, vaccinating staff members may also curb the spread of COVID-19 between these communities.

However, in many states, staff members have not been vaccinating at high rates. For example, in Alabama, 26% percent of staff have been vaccinated. In West Virginia, 49% of staff are vaccinated.

The percentages of vaccinated employees are also generally lower than the percentage of vaccinated incarcerated individuals. For instance, in California, 69% of staff are fully vaccinated compared to 80% of the incarcerated population. This is similar in Virginia where about 71% staff are vaccinated compared to 79% of incarcerated individuals as well as Tennessee where the rates of staff and incarcerated individuals vaccinated are 66% and 77% respectively.

System # of employees vaccinated # of employees% of employees vaccinated# of incarcerated individuals vaccinated# of incarcerated individuals1% of incarcerated individuals vaccinated


Currently, there have been rapid increases in the number of positive COVID-19 cases among both staff and incarcerated individuals. Thus, it is even more important that more employees are being vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19.

*The AL DOC does not report the number of staff who have been vaccinated through a community provider. The total for # of employees was given in the ADOC glossary located here:

**CA does not display the total of employees vaccinated, but lists how many employees are vaccinated in each of their facilities. The percentage of vaccinated staff and incarcerated individuals are given by the DOC and are the percentages of fully vaccinated totals.

***TN’s staff population are pulled from their latest Annual Report:

****VA’s staff and incarcerated population are pulled from their latest Annual Report:

*****WV’s totals are pulled from their latest testing reports:

1incarcerated population numbers were pulled from CPP’s larger database

Communication of COVID-19 related policies in February 2021

The COVID Prison Project continues to track and grade how effectively different systems have utilized their Department of Corrections (DOC) website and social media to communicate their COVID-19 policies to the general populace. Due to the rapid developments concerning COVID-19, it is crucial that systems continue to evaluate and communicate their policies promptly. Clear and frequent communication allows us to better understand the conditions that people who are incarcerated, staff and others who are in frequent contact with these systems, are experiencing. 

In the month of February, all 53 systems continued to provide COVID-19 related information on their DOC website. In comparison to January, there was a decrease in the percentage of policy reporting on Facebook, but an increase in the usage of Instagram. The percentage of policy reporting through Twitter and Youtube remained the same. 

Other Key Findings:

  • Several systems posted about vaccinations. Most notably, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Ohio all shared multiple photos and videos of their staff receiving vaccines or why they received one. 
  • ICE, the Federal BOP, Nevada and Wyoming all received a score of 1 meaning they only provided information through their official website.
  • Both California and Tennessee earned a full score of 6.3, communicating policy related information about their system and P&P through their DOC website as well as all their social media platforms.