• Diverse Appointments to the NJ Police Training Commission
    The violence black people experience at the hands of police, and the racial disparity in incarceration rates in NJ is cruel, intolerably high, and must end. Inclusion of African Americans on the PTC allows representation for the most adversely affected community to help shape Police training and policy statewide. It provides African Americans with influence over creating and implementing changes to end systemic racism in policing, which leads to violence, including death, and over representation in prison and jail populations.
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    Created by Rev. H William Rutherford
  • Let Anthony Go Home
    A judge determined that Anthony Swain was eligible for release, but set his bond at $650,000, an amount that no one but the very wealthiest would be able to afford. As a result, Anthony has suffered in jail for four years, waiting for a trial that never comes. He is a paraplegic man with a rare degenerative disease that affects his respiratory and immune system. Without proper medical treatment, the disease can be deadly. On top of that, Anthony was recently diagnosed with COVID19 and is now in isolation, dealing with incredible cruelty. The jail cannot care for him. Let Anthony Swain go home. Anthony is a 43-year-old Black man who is wheelchair-bound and has been paralyzed from the waist down for most of his life. In February of 2016, Anthony was arrested on drug charges. Before he was locked up, Anthony was a staple in his community. On any given weekend, he could be found at his church with his tight-knit family or doing fish fries to feed people in his neighborhood. Since he has been incarcerated, Anthony's condition has deteriorated. He was diagnosed with cystic myelomalacia in 2019, which causes respiratory problems and a weakened immune system. So when coronavirus hit Florida, Anthony knew he was especially at risk. He contacted Dream Defenders to file a lawsuit to secure the immediate release of medically vulnerable people like himself and wrote an op-ed to bring attention to the despicable conditions he has been forced to endure. Anthony believed that if he wasn't released immediately, he would catch the virus at the jail. He was correct. On Mother's Day, he could not breathe. He was taken to the hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus. He was taken from the hospital back to the jail, where he is now in isolation in a tiny cell that can't accommodate his disability. Since he’s been in isolation, he’s been eaten by ants that have infested his cell, has open wounds all over his body from bedsores, and been unable to even clean himself. This is no way for a person to recover. In addition to immediate concerns about his health and well-being, Anthony is also at risk for long-term repercussions including blood clots, stroke, heart disease, neurocognitive disorders, and so much more. Anthony has been forced to endure utter cruelty for too long. An unaffordable bond shouldn't strip someone of their right to live a safe, healthy life.
    54,841 of 75,000 Signatures
  • Demand that Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx Decarcerate to Respond to COVID-19
    As of April 14, 2020, more than 300 people incarcerated in CCJ have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3 people have lost their lives. The rate of infection has climbed as high as 62 out of every 1,000 people incarcerated in the jail, and there are no doubt many more people who have COVID-19 but who have not been tested. Cook County Jail has been identified by the New York Times as the “top hot spot” in the nation’s pandemic. People incarcerated in jail are one of the populations most vulnerable to coronavirus and COVID-19, and their protection warrants special emergency action. Jails and prisons are known to quickly spread contagious diseases. Incarcerated people have an inherently limited ability to fight the spread of infectious disease since they are confined in close quarters and unable to avoid contact with people who may have been exposed. Cook County Jail is a death trap, and leaving people incarcerated there during this pandemic will result in the needless illness, suffering, and deaths of people in the jail’s custody, staff working inside the jail, and others in the community as our shared health care system becomes overwhelmed. As a candidate who campaigned on a progressive platform, it is State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx’s responsibility to take bold action now. If State’s Attorney Foxx continues the present course, more people will inevitably and unnecessarily lose their lives.
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    Created by Matthew McLoughlin Picture
  • California's COVID-19 Budget Must Support Decarceration!
    As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across California, people caged inside prisons and jails remain at the mercy of our elected officials. Last week, the California Senate formed the Budget Subcommittee on COVID-19 to address the budget needs of this crisis and will be holding their first hearing this Thursday April 16th at 2pm. The budget that California creates over the next few weeks will determine who lives and who dies. In Los Angeles alone there have been 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the jail population, 33 cases among staff, and one custody staff on life support. With over 700 prisoners quarantined in Los Angeles and many remaining to be tested, incarcerated people and their families fear that there are many more cases yet to be reported. Los Angeles, along with many counties across the state, are taking steps to reduce the jail population in order to slow down the continued spread of the virus. The jail population in LA is at the lowest levels since 1990 - dropping from over 17,000 prisoners to 12,800, largely due to the continued advocacy of groups like JusticeLA. Now is the time for the State to do its part and help fund jail and prison decarceration efforts by providing funds for: -- emergency housing for houseless people, -- transitional housing for people being released from jails and prisons, -- permanent housing for houseless people and people being released from jails and prisons, -- community-based treatment for people with mental health, behavioral health and biomedical needs transitioning out of incarceration, -- pretrial and post release services, -- post-conviction review and resentencing, -- alternatives to incarceration to support the release of additional people from jails and prisons, and -- free phone calls for families reaching their loved ones behind bars.
    1,013 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Dignity and Power Now
  • Health Not Handcuffs: Stop Unnecessary Arrests in New Orleans
    As New Orleans becomes the new epicenter of the COVID-19 virus, our first priority must be to protect community members inside and outside of the jail and public servants from contracting the virus. In jails and prisons, social distancing and quarantine is impossible, and healthcare is insufficient at best. An outbreak of COVID-19 in our jails and prisons would mean certain death for many of our community members inside, for jail staff, and for healthcare workers in our carceral system. As of April 21, 56 people in the Orleans Parish jail have tested positive for COVID-19, while 47 Sheriff's Office employees and 11 medical staffers have tested positive. As staff and community members filter in and out of the local jail, they come in contact with their families and neighbors--no matter how effectively we socially distance ourselves from one another. An outbreak in our jails endangers everyone in our community. Since this outbreak began, we have closely monitored which arrests have received bail hearings. So far, the data is clear: NOPD is still making custodial arrests for non-violent crimes. Between March 19 to April 17, 35% of people who were booked and required to receive a bail hearing were arrested for crimes that don’t pose a risk to the public. Regular updates are posted to Court Watch NOLA’s Twitter on Fridays at 5:30 PM CST. Minimizing the number of people introduced to the jail is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our city, because every new person sent to the jail leads to an almost certain additional exposure to the virus that could have been avoided. Unnecessary arrests mean unnecessary deaths. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson have the power to reduce the risk of contagion by ordering an arrest protocol to stop locking New Orleanians up for low-level and non-violent offenses where there is no sign of clear and present danger of imminent physical harm. NOPD officers must utilize summonses in lieu of custodial arrests for nonviolent offenses. Sign our petition and demand Mayor Cantrell and Superintendent Ferguson change NOPD’s arrest protocol and stop locking New Orleanians up for non-violent, non-domestic, non-sex offenses. When you sign this petition, an email will be automatically sent to select New Orleans city officials. Thank you for continuing to fight for justice in the face of this global crisis.
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    Created by Chloe Dewberry
  • ACT NOW! WE WANT DECARCERATION OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN PRISON DUE TO COVID-19
    State Vs Us Magazine PO Box 29291 Baltimore, MD 21213 Attention Governors, LT Governors, Wardens, and Assistant Wardens: As you are well aware this pandemic has impacted so many lives worldwide. It is very well understood that those individuals who are incarcerated are there as a result of some crime they have committed or maybe didn’t commit either way they’re human. As a result of this virus causing a detrimental global impact incarcerated individuals who can’t practice social distancing in their already controlled environment are most susceptible. COVID-19 has directly and indirectly impacted our community and that includes incarcerated individuals and juveniles. There is no reason to act like these men, women, and children aren’t human as animals are treated better. COVID-19 should not be a death sentence for those accused of a crime nor those found guilty of a crime. The Governor has a moral obligation to ensure the safety of all humans within their state - that includes those incarcerated. As people, as humans, as children, and as adults we all have broken a law, did something wrong and some of us have been able to never see handcuffs or even a prison cell. America has proved over and over how judgment on others continues to be a plague on our community. At some point, our human must kick in and we must ask ourselves when will we act accordingly and think of others at doing right by them. Whether we are in the same tax bracket or not WE are a community. Our children are being taken from the comfort of their homes due to poverty in the middle of a pandemic. How fair is that? Children are being trafficked through the system and parents are hysterical. We ask you what if this were your child, place yourself in their shoes. The relationship between Slavery and families being separated by systems is no accident. Treating animals in the zoo better than families of color is disgusting - color does not remove our humanity - How will you sleep at night when this pandemic is over and nearly every incarcerated person is deceased - Knowing you had the power to change their outcomes and give them a chance to live. This letter serves as an effort to make our communities safer and save those lives who can’t save their own. Here is a list of demands for you to act on ASAP. This has to happen and has to happen now. History has proven that black America is 13% black and the prison population is 34% black. We are the most affected and this is your chance to correct an over 400 years long wrong. I challenge you to adhere to what is necessary and needed to not only improve families’ relationships but communities. *Better living conditions for our incarcerated individuals *Free phone calls and emails home to families *Return children who were separated from their family for reasons related to neglect *Children whose parents have been visiting with them and seeking their return *Children who the family court system has a goal of return to parent *Release all people in jail who are incarcerated on pre-trial and bondable offenses *Release all people who have a year or less *Release disable, sickly, and elderly individuals *Release non-violent offenses *Create emergency housing for returning citizens *We demand full compliance with all of the clauses of the eighth amendment cruel and unusual punishment clauses of the constitution. *We demand full compliance with the CARES ACT and immediate home confinement placement of those individuals who meet the requirements. With all love and prayer that you understand where I’m coming from as you will do the right thing. Tia Hamilton CEO, State Vs Us Magazine
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    Created by Tia Hamilton
  • #Decarcerate NE: Prevent a COVID-19 Outbreak in Nebraska Jails & Prisons
    Incarcerated and detained Nebraskans are facing a high risk for a COVID-19 outbreak. Not only are these facilities operating above 150% capacity, but people live in unsanitary spaces. It is not a question of if COVID-19 will enter these facilities, but when. “It doesn’t matter what crime you committed. This pandemic is affecting everyone,” Dominique Morgan, Executive Director of Black and Pink explains, “If you were selling a little bit of dope, it shouldn’t be a death sentence. But that’s what COVID-19 is. These people inside can’t choose to social distance. They can’t say, ‘No, you can’t touch my body and shake me down.’ They don’t get to decide who comes into their institutions. They have no autonomy over their body. Imagine going through this pandemic and the fear we have as a community. Now imagine having no power. Being Black. Being trans. You have to have empathy at this time.” Pain and violence are a virus themselves. Not only do they spread without urgent corrective action, but punishment replicates pain and violence. We have space for meeting people where they are at and for healing at home in our communities. We see them everyday. Maybe we give a smile or a nod. Put people in cages, isolated and separated from communities, and we lose their humanity. We forget they too are worthy of respect and love and life. They too have inherent value. We recognize their value. That’s why Black and Pink, along with 13 other Nebraska community organizations, joined in solidarity to demand clear and specific actions for Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes to immediately implement and reduce the impact of COVID-19 including: 1. Reducing the dangerous overcrowding conditions in NDCS facilities, including the immediate release of individuals at high risk of contracting COVID-19 2. Issuing a publicly accessible Crisis Management Plan, including accountability measures for handling an outbreak 3. Prioritizing the health and safety of currently incarcerated individuals by ensuring appropriate access to medication, prohibiting use of punitive processes, and prioritizing COVID-19 treatment at hospital settings NOT facility medical units/infirmaries. The full text of the letter can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J0sAfQIF57WJwJ5gHw__855VSa_X0uJ9/view?usp=sharing Join us in demanding that state officials release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and share how they plan to protect the health of incarcerated Nebraskans during this health crisis! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell HELP US AMPLIFY: Share this petition on Twitter (copy text): Join me and sign this petition to demand that @GovRicketts and @necorrections Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4 Share this petition on Facebook (copy text): I refuse to wait silently while state officials endanger the health and lives of incarcerated Nebraskans. Join me today and sign this petition to demand that Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4
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    Created by J. Petersen
  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
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    Created by Nicholas Buckingham
  • Michigan Covid-19 Statewide Immediate Release of Vulnerable incarcerated People
    Covid-19 presents a threat to human life. We believe all human life is valuable, and are ensuring that those most at risk, like incarcerated individuals, are being granted the relief necessary to protect themselves and their families. The particularly vulnerable incarcerated community members and those currently being impacted by the system need support in this moment and not continued trauma. Action is crucially important now to avoid public health mishaps like the scabies outbreak at Huron Valley Prison in 2019. Now more than ever, we need transformative criminal justice action to limit the damage that the system can do during the pandemic outbreak.
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    Created by Tim Christensen
  • COVID-19: Los Angeles Must Immediately Release People from the County Jails!
    We are not alone in recognizing this crisis of criminalization and incarceration here in Los Angeles and how COVID19 will exacerbate that crisis. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the recommendations outlined in the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group’s historic and unprecedented report, “Care First, Jails Last: Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities.” Shortly thereafter, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas published a letter outlining his concerns about COVID19’s spreads to the LA jails and calling for a reduction in jail bookings, early release, plans for quarantine and treatment, concerted efforts to reduce virus transmission and a plan for expected staffing shortages. We are also not alone in calling for significant and timely steps towards decarceration. On Saturday, March 14, Judges from the Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Court announced their intention to seek the release of hundreds of people incarcerated in their county jails. Like us, these judges recognize that jails pose threats to our larger community and the incarcerated people themselves. On Tuesday, March 17, the New York City Board of Corrections, the independent oversight Board for the city’s jail system, issued a call for incarcerated people at high risk to be immediately released and for the overall jail population to be rapidly and drastically reduced. Also on Tuesday, March 17, thirty one elected prosecutors from around the country, but not from Los Angeles, published a letter advocating that counties “implement concrete steps in the near-term to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerated individuals” to prevent the potentially “catastrophic” spread of COVID19. We also join epidemiologists in warning that it is not a matter of if COVID19 enters your facility -- but when. For these reasons, we demand that you, as correctional health care leaders, do your part. We ask that you: 1) Prepare a list of your incarcerated patients who are most medically vulnerable and who require immediate release. We demand that you prepare that list within one week, notify the public that the list has been made available to correctional authorities, the courts and city/state leaders, and advocate for their early release with linkages to housing and healthcare services. 2) Use the legal authority granted to you to declare COVDI19 a liable danger to those currently held in the county jails and advocate for their immediate release to safe and meaningful housing. 3) Identify, coordinate and provide the services incarcerated people need upon their release (e.g. HIV care for those who are HIV+, substance use treatment centers for those with substance use disorders, homes and shelters for those who are houseless, etc) to ensure their ongoing protection from this epidemic. The County should use the recently approved recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group to build infrastructure that addresses and also outlives this emergency to achieve our shared goal of reducing the jail population.
    1,517 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson
  • Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Decarcerating Mecklenburg
    Dear local leaders: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, we – a coalition of concerned organizations, attorneys, and community members – urge you to undertake all possible measures to prevent the spread of infection in Mecklenburg County’s jails. An outbreak of COVID-19 in the jails would be swift and deadly, and it would overwhelm the county’s hospitals and health system. The next week is crucial to limiting COVID-19’s spread. Now is the time for decisive emergency measures to save lives. COVID-19 poses severe risks whenever people are in close physical proximity with others, regardless of whether an individual has shown symptoms of infection. People in jail are unable to distance themselves from others and take the preventative measures that are necessary to prevent infection and protect the population. Worse, jails are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because the underlying health conditions that can cause infection or exacerbate harm are very prevalent among incarcerated people. This will make the spread of COVID-19 inside jails fast and lethal, threatening everyone incarcerated in a jail, along with their loved ones, jail staff, and the state’s public health infrastructure at large. The safest way to ensure that the jail does not become a vector for COVID-19’s spread is to cut the jail population and halt new admissions. This is particularly imperative for anyone who a judge has already approved for release pending payment of money bail; anyone detained under an ICE hold; and anyone detained for a Failure to Appear or parole/probation violations. Release is also crucial for those who are elderly or have medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable. In contrast to reducing jail populations, restrictive measures such as segregation and lockdowns will not contain infection. In a county jail, people are incarcerated for a relatively short period of time before returning to the outside community, and every day new people are booked into the facility if law enforcement continue making arrests. Jail staff necessarily come and go everyday as well, returning to their families and communities. This constant turnover will compromise any effort to contain COVID-19, especially since people may be infected and contagious but not show symptoms. Restrictive measures inside could also discourage incarcerated people from reporting symptoms or seeking care, which will multiply infection. Reducing the jail population is consistent with the county sheriff’s obligation to safely manage county jail populations and the guidance of correctional experts. Dr. Marc Stern, who served as Health Services Director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections, recently urged: “With a smaller population, prisons, jails, and detention centers can help diseases spread less quickly by allowing people to better maintain social distance.” Dr. Stern also explained that reducing the jail population will ease staffing burdens: “If staff cannot come to work because they are infected, a smaller population poses less of a security risk for remaining staff.” Jurisdictions across the country have already started taking the important public health measure of reducing their jail population. The Bail Project has worked to provide free bail assistance to people detained pretrial in the Mecklenburg County Jail. Since its tenure in Charlotte began in August 2019, the organization has posted bail for over 200 people, of which more than 90% then returned to court without any need for detention, even though their bail amount would otherwise have kept them incarcerated. We know from this experience that reducing the jail population to protect public health will be safe, lawful, and just. Every time the county introduces another person to the jail environment, there is a risk of worsening the spread of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population, jail staff, and the broader community. We urge you to undertake all possible avenues for limiting that peril and preventing deaths across the community. Signed, The ACLU of NC Global Missions of the A.M.E. Zion Church The Bail Project Beauty After the Bars Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN Charlotte) Project BOLT Charlotte Uprising Comunidad Colectiva Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office Poor No More Racial Justice Engagement Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Southeast Asian Coalition Court Support Services Team TRU BLUE
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    Created by Decarcerate Mecklenburg
  • Support Parole and Compassionate Release for Dr. Mutulu Shakur
    Dr. Shakur is recognized as a leading member of the movement for human rights for African Americans. He has spent over three decades behind bars because of his political beliefs and the actions motivated by those beliefs. He is also recognized as a Doctor of Acupuncture who pioneered the use of acupuncture for drug addiction. Acupuncturists all over the United States and Canada are still utilizing his work to this day. Mutulu's convictions come out of a complex and turbulent moment in American history, when civil unrest fractured our country into pieces. They arise from his commitment to the social justice movement for Black liberation, originating in the 1960's. He was targeted and victimized by the FBI's now-infamous Counter- Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) as early as 1968. He was convicted of RICO conspiracy and connection to the 1981 Brinks Robbery, and the earlier prison escape of Assata Shakur. Dr. Shakur has taken full responsibility for his life and his actions. Dr. Shakur has received a diagnosis of life-threatening advanced bone marrow cancer. He had already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and glaucoma. In 2013, he suffered from a stroke that required several months for recovery. In 2019 he experienced increasing pain; after months of medical neglect, advanced bone marrow cancer was diagnosed. Now Mutulu is suffering from extensive painful bone lesions, caused by the growth of the bone marrow cancer in parts of his spine, ribs and pelvis. The cancer has also destroyed a large area of bone around his right 7th rib, replacing bone with cancer cells, creating a propensity to break. Dr. Shakur is 69 years old, and aging in prison after 34 years of incarceration. He needs treatment and recovery in humane conditions immediately. We fear for his survival and his life.
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    Created by Lumumba Bandele