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Table 1 Definitions of policy categories

From: Policy and public communication methods among U.S. state prisons during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic




Prevention policies included measures taken to preemptively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through masking, reducing and suspending intakes, staff quarantining, distribution of hand sanitizer, and increased facility cleaning.

Case Identification and Intervention

Identification and intervention policies included policies related to COVID-19 screening, testing, medical care, and medical isolation.


Movement policies included restrictions placed on individuals who are incarcerated and their movement around facilities, such as social distancing and transfer restrictions.

Social Communication and Connection

Social policies included measures that impacted incarcerated persons’ ability to connect to their social networks such as visitation restrictions and expanded access to distance communication methods (e.g., phone or video calls, secure messaging, emails).

Programming, Recreation, and Privileges

Privileges include policies that focus on expansion and restriction around how individuals who are incarcerated are able to spend their time. This includes reductions or increases to recreation time, limited work release jobs, and programming reduced or suspended.