Our worlds have been dramatically shifted by COVID-19 – but few populations are as vulnerable as the 2.3 million people who reside in prisons, jails, and detention centers across the nation every day. That’s why we are re-focusing our current efforts and shifting resources to support our partners in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in facilities nationwide. We support three different policy platforms, all working to make sure we flatten the curve within and outside of our incarcerated communities. Please take a moment to look through these policy proposals and encourage your networks to do the same.
Alliance for Safety and Justice
The #StopTheSpread Action plan was developed by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, representing “survivors of crime, people living with convictions, and organizations serving them.” The plan has two main focal points: assisting crisis assistance service organizations and reducing the current incarcerated population. There are community organizations that must be deemed essential, expanded, and supported so they may continue to help vulnerable communities. Examples of such organizations are emergency shelters, reentry services, and trauma recovery centers. Additionally, to stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, and jails, there should be an expedited release of residents such as the elderly, sick, low-risk, or soon to be released individuals.
Demanding a Just and Humane Response to Outbreak
Color of Change
This platform addresses the demands of activists, advocates, and electeds with a desire to work in tandem with prison industry corporations to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, jails, and detention centers by substantially reducing the current populations and by releasing those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to medical facilities. Furthermore, the platform advocates for the dignity of those that remain incarcerated by demanding such things as an end to underpaid prison labor and providing access, as is possible, to family members and lawyers. Outside of facilities state and local officials are urged to not criminalize Black and Brown communities as they work to survive this pandemic.
Preventing The Spread of Communicable Disease in the Criminal Justice System
The SAFER Plan is a list of recommendations from health care experts aimed at protecting vulnerable residents, correctional officers, surrounding communities, and the general public. The core tenets of this plan are:
S – suspend jail for technical violations and suspend probation office visits and payment of fines
A – adopt smart alternatives to incarceration and contact visitation
F – free medical visits and treatment, hand sanitizer, soap, and protective gear for prisoners
E – extra precautions for correctional officers and staff
R – release elderly and vulnerable prisoners to home confinement