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Demand Congress Protect Detained and Incarcerated People from COVID-19

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    The Message

    Dear Members of Congress,

    Schools and universities are closed, states have gone into mandated quarantine, and yet prisons and migrant detention centers where children and many of our nation’s elderly and ill reside are still "open for business." As the coronavirus pandemic looms, it poses a major threat to jails, prisons, and detention centers across the country where inmates and staffers have already tested positive.

    In an environment where sick staff have been working and hand sanitizer is considered contraband, incarcerated people are at high risk of being infected.

    If the coronavirus spreads inside a facility it could be catastrophic — especially for the elderly and those already ill. "Social distancing" is impossible, living conditions under pre-COVID-19 circumstances are lethal, and health care accessibility is wholly inadequate. Immigrants at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, are already taking action and have begun a hunger strike in protest of their ongoing detention and are undergoing horrid conditions and treatment.

    You must take the necessary steps to ensure that incarcerated people in detention centers and prisons are not fatally impacted by the coronavirus.

    Legislation must be passed to guarantee adequate healthcare and testing for those already ill and those who display symptoms. In addition to providing adequate healthcare, we urge you to release children and families, the elderly, the ill, and people with non-violent offenses.

    During the pandemic we must not forget about those who are detained and incarcerated in correctional facilities or detention centers. Please act swiftly before COVID-19 fatally impacts the vulnerable incarcerated population.

    Thank you.

    Schools and universities are closed, states have gone into mandated quarantine, and yet prisons and migrant detention centers where children and many of our nation’s elderly and ill reside are still "open for business." Congress must take the necessary steps to ensure that the incarcerated population in detention centers and prisons are not fatally impacted by the coronavirus.

    References:

    Barr, Luke, Francescani, Chris, Pezenik, Sasha, Weinraub, Claire. "Releases, infections, fear: U.S. coronavirus crisis in jails and prisons looms." ABC News. March 26, 2020.

    Lopez, German. "A coronavirus outbreak in jails or prisons could turn into a nightmare." Vox. March 17, 2020.

    Lee, Kurtis. "Activists implore prisons to release at-risk inmates to prevent coronavirus deaths." L.A. Times. March 19, 2020.

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