Protect Incarcerated People in CT from COVID-19

Protect Incarcerated People in CT from COVID-19

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I was on a webinar last week hosted by ACLU Connecticut and the Smart Justice Team, and since then there has been the first positive COVID-19 test of an adult incarcerated in Connecticut.  

Did you know that there are about 12,000 people incarcerated in Connecticut and half of those have less than a year left of their sentence?  It is a challenge to practice physical distancing in prisons, and inmates have access to limited medical care under the best of situations. It is impossible to wash your hands properly if you only have water, no soap, and nothing to wash your hands off with. How do you cover your mouth with a tissue if you sneeze and you are handcuffed? Never mind having hand sanitizer, it is often nonexistent in prisons.

On a regular day, the medical resources are limited. Dr. Ben Howell says, “Connecticut correctional facilities are not equipped to effectively monitor the spread of the virus”. Experts say it is just a matter of time before COVID-19 spreads though out the prisons and jails. Across the country, more than a dozen states have begun to release some inmates because of the fears of the spread of the virus.

How as people of faith can we respond? One way is to contact your State Representative, State Senator and Governor and consider signing this petition that will be sent to Governor Lamont. Please contact your State Representative and State Senator regarding this. Find out who your CT state legislators are.  

Here is a script you can use:

"Dear Representative/Senator ___________. My name is ______ and I am a constituent of yours. I live at __________( your address). I am calling/emailing you today to ask you to encourage Governor Lamont to release a plan for thoughtful, compassionate and swift release of people who are incarcerated, including youth who are detained and incarcerated. The first positive COVID-19 test of an adult incarcerated in Connecticut was on March 30, 2020 and it is just a matter of time before it spreads out of control.

"I am asking your support of releasing people who are being held pre-trial based on inability to afford bail and expedited parole for incarcerated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and pose no public safety threat. There are about 12,000 people in Connecticut’s prisons and half of them have less than one year left of their sentence.

"I am asking for your support to release some people early, especially those who have family to live with upon their release and those people that are incarcerated for minor crimes and “community release-approved” inmates, those who are on their way out but are waiting for space in halfway houses or sponsors.

"Across the country, more than a dozen states have begun to release some inmates because of the fears of the spread of the virus. Please consider these requests to prevent a rapid spread of coronavirus within prisons and jails. Thank you."

If you need help finding out who your State Senator and/or State Representative is, email Michele Mudrick, Legislative Advocate of the Southern New England Conference at mudrickm@sneucc.org

Author

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Michele H. Mudrick

Michele Mudrick works to bring the concerns raised by historic Connecticut Conference delegates to the Connecticut General Assembly and executive offices, particularly in the legislative process. She also works to organize local church members to ...

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