Research Assistant 1, HSS
COVID-19 Testing and Prevention in Correctional Settings (RadX-UP)
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020-2023)
Transmission of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) is amplified in correctional settings due to restricted access to sanitizing supplies, personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests, close congregant living conditions, and exposure to correctional staff who unknowingly transmit the infection from the community. Incarcerated people are also more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to the general population. Long-term COVID-19 testing and prevention strategies targeting incarcerated populations and correctional staff, responsive to long-standing ethical and pragmatic concerns unique to corrections, are needed. Prior work has not explored the ethical, legal, and social barriers to COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration in corrections, especially centered around the values, preferences, and needs of those who work and live in correctional facilities.
We sought to increase the reach, access, uptake, and impact of COVID-19 testing and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among incarcerated people and staff. Specific aims included: identifying ethical concerns and potential solutions for COVID-19 testing and vaccine strategies in correctional facilities through archival work and qualitative interviews; and characterizing baseline COVID-19 incidence, disease progression and related-outcomes among incarcerated individuals and correctional staff. At the core of this work is a long-standing multidisciplinary team, including people with histories of incarceration, correctional policymakers, public health scientists, historians, legal scholars, and ethicists, to inform our research strategy.