COVID-19 Response: Shrink the Criminal Justice Footprint
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, the nation’s jails and prisons have become ripe breeding grounds for COVID-19. Millions of people who interact with our criminal justice system are at risk. Last weekend marked the first COVID-related death of an inmate and new reports show that the rate of infection in prisons is far higher than their surrounding areas, evidence of the urgent need for states and cities to jump into action. Some are responding to the crisis by beginning to release people in jails and prisons who the Center for Disease Control (the CDC) deem “high risk” for contracting the virus. Others, however, are refusing to budge, leaving advocates, former judges, and district attorneys to call for change. A new poll shows 63% of registered voters would like to see people released during the unfolding pandemic.
In this episode, you’ll hear from Lewis Conway, a National Campaign Strategist for the ACLU who has experienced incarceration, and also Udi Ofer, the ACLU’s Deputy National Political Director, on what prisons should be doing to prevent the spread of the virus.