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To: County Courts, County Prosecutor, County Sheriff

Public Safety = Decarceration COVID-19 Demands for Washtenaw County Courts, Prosecutor, and Sheriff

On behalf of our communities, Liberate! Don’t Incarcerate demands that local stakeholders take immediate action in this time of COVID-19 to protect individuals being arrested, facing ongoing court proceedings, and currently in detention. These are our demands:

Law Enforcement
-Stop all new detentions of anyone who does not pose a risk of serious injury to a “reasonably identifiable person.”
-Do not even temporarily detain someone with symptoms of COVID-19.

-Remove the threat of incarceration for people who are being surveilled by probation, pretrial services, or ankle shackles to allow people to travel and access medical care, stay isolated when necessary, and take care of themselves and their families.
-Eliminate requirements for in-person check-ins with probation and pretrial services.

Prosecutors & Courts
-Ensure that counsel is provided at arraignment and all other hearings, prioritizing the safety of the people appearing in court as well as all system actors (attorneys, judges, court staff, etc.). Quickly work toward implementing remote appearances for all hearings until in-person hearings can be safely resumed. In the meantime, always abide by social distancing requirements.
-End cash bail and do not increase surveillance or ankle shackling as a substitute for in-person custody.
-Carefully assess anyone being sent to custody for symptoms of COVID-19 and transfer to hospital if symptoms are suspected.

-Release everyone on the inside. At bare minimum, release people who: are 50+ years old, are immuno-compromised, have medical conditions, are held on probation technical violation detainers or sentences, or have less than 6 months left in their sentences.
-For people who remain incarcerated: make phone calls, video visitation, hand sanitizer, and soap free of charge immediately. Implement social distancing and sanitation measures immediately. Immediately quarantine and ensure appropriate medical care for anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. People who are incarcerated should not be subjected to further punitive measures as a guise for containing the virus.
-Jail administrators must provide accurate and transparent updates on the spread of COVID-19 in the Washtenaw County Jail, including how many people have tested positive and the precautions being taken.

Why is this important?

Our neighbors, friends, and family members who are currently incarcerated are some of those at greatest risk for contracting or dying from COVID-19. Immediate action is critical to protect people who are incarcerated who cannot socially distance or take other necessary precautions to protect themselves. It is also critical to protect community members. With people only staying in jail for 2-3 days, on average, the cycling in and out of jail creates public health dangers for everyone.

We have written the following demands as clearly as possible, using specific legal terms to ensure that they offer clear guidance to those who hold power within the system. We acknowledge that these demands are short-term in order to respond to the moment, while recognizing that these systems will continue to harm our communities until they are dismantled. COVID-19 is an urgent public health issue and therefore must be treated as such. Immediate decarceration is the only path to public safety. We demand both these short-term demands and the fuller Liberate! Don’t Incarcerate platform to stop targeting communities of color, to decarcerate and divest from the machine, and to invest in our communities.

Washtenaw County, MI, USA

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2020-04-01 16:48:28 -0700

500 signatures reached

2020-03-27 05:48:23 -0700

we've gathered almost 300 signatures in just 24 hours. Time is short so please share this petition (via FB or email) with 5 people TODAY so we can reach 500 by tomorrow. Thank you!!!

2020-03-26 09:59:18 -0700

100 signatures reached

2020-03-26 07:50:49 -0700

50 signatures reached

2020-03-26 06:25:24 -0700

25 signatures reached

2020-03-25 19:13:53 -0700

10 signatures reached