Tell the DOJ: Investigate and Enforce CDC Guidelines on COVID-19 in Prisons

Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Photo by Jordan Mazurek, from Aug 22, 2020 Mass Memorial in Tallahassee for People Killed by COVID-19 in FL Prisons

Sign this petition demanding both investigation and enforcement action to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 among prisoners who are unable to socially distance or access proper PPE to protect themselves.

Reducing the number of people behind bars must be the number one priority.

This petition will be delivered to DOJ staff, as well the Center for Disease Control (CDC), to call for immediate action. While the CDC has acknowledged the danger in prisons, it has fallen short of advocating the level of decarceration that is needed to truly implement its guidelines.

There are over 6000 state, local and federal prisons across the United States. Many of them have become hotspots of Covid-19, with disproportionately high impacts among Black and Latinx prisoners, particularly in Southern states.

A recent statement from the DOJ in regards to public nursing homes offers an example of the sort of power they have to push state, federal and local facilities towards safer settings for vulnerable prisoner populations

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced on Aug 26, 2020 that is looking towards investigations under the federal “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing home facilities. This can and should be applied to prisons and jails.

In that statement, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband stated that “Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members...is one of our country’s most important obligations.”

We agree.

According to their website's Pandemic Response Oversight page, the DOJ has completed two reports on COVID-19 in prisons (one in Lompoc, CA, the other at FCC Tucson, AZ). This is a start, but its not enough.  
Research from Johns Hopkins and UCLA shows prisoners are 550% more likely to catch COVID-19, and 300% more likely to die from it than the general population.

According to the New York Times COVID-19 Case Tracker, in mid-August 84 of the top 100 COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in the country were prisons and jails. Fifteen of them located in Florida’s incarceration system alone.

A DOJ investigation into these state prisons systems could apply significant pressure to force life-saving changes.

If we do not get a sufficient response, we will take the issue to the United Nations to call for international attention on the reckless negligence of U.S. institutions with regards to the lives of prisoners in this pandemic.
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To: Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
From: [Your Name]

The DOJ must conduct rigorous investigation and swift enforcement action, with support from the CDC, to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 among prisoners who are unable to socially distance or access proper PPE to protect themselves.

There are over 6000 state, local and federal prisons across the United States. Many of them have become hotspots of Covid-19, with disproportionately high impacts among Black and Latinx prisoners​, particularly in Southern states​.

A recent statement from the DOJ in regards to public nursing homes​ offers an example of the sort of power your agency has to push state, federal and local facilities towards safer settings for vulnerable prisoner populations

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced on Aug 26, 2020 that it is looking towards investigations under the federal “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run​ nursing home facilities. This can and should be applied to prisons and jails.

In that statement, ​Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband stated that ​“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members...is one of our country’s most important obligations.”

I agree.

According to your website's Pandemic Response Oversight​ page, your agency has completed two reports on COVID-19 in prisons (one in Lompoc, CA, the other at FCC Tucson, AZ). This is a start, but its not enough.

Research from Johns Hopkins and UCLA shows prisoners are 550% more likely to catch COVID-19, and 300% more likely to die from it than the general population.

According to the New York Times COVID-19 Case Tracker, 84 of the top 100 COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in the country are prisons and jails, 15 of them, for example are located in Florida’s incarceration system alone.

A DOJ investigation into these state prisons systems adherence to CDC guidelines could apply significant pressure to force life-saving changes.

Please confirm receipt of this message and send your response to: INFO@NATIONINSIDE.ORG