COVID-19 as an Amplifier of Mass Incarceration Public Health Crisis

Date: Oct 26 2020

EMBARGOED UNTIL Oct. 27, 3 p.m. MT
Contact: Media Relations 

Mass incarceration in the U.S. has derailed millions of lives, many of whom are people of color. Studies show that incarceration harms the health not only of the people incarcerated, but also their families. Numerous COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons this year have added to the health care challenges.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time, APHA’s virtual Annual Meeting and Expo will present a session called “COVID-19 as an Amplifier of the Mass Incarceration Public Health Crisis.”

The panel discussion, moderated by Alfredo Morabia, editor-in-chief, American Journal of Public Health, will examine strategies to reduce mass incarceration, fund community social services and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incarcerated populations. It will feature presentations from:

  • Lisa Bowleg, MA, PhD, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., discussing the violence of mass incarceration.
  • Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, discussing mass incarceration as a socio-structural determinant of health.
  • Martin Lajous, MD, ScD, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Mexico City, Mexico, discussing family incarceration, psychological stress and cardiovascular risk in Mexico.
  • Robert Rooks, Alliance for Safety and Justice, Oakland, California, offering a blueprint for shared safety.

Add this session to your personalized schedule.

The APHA Annual Meeting and Expo is the largest and most influential yearly gathering of public health professionals. Themed “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence," this year’s virtual meeting will be held Oct. 24-28. Register or learn more about APHA’s 2020 Annual Meeting. Working members of the news media may register by contacting


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at