#FreeAndSafe from COVID-19
Advancement Project National Office and other national civil rights and racial justice organizations are taking legal action to protect people in jails and prisons.
We need your help to pressure local and state governments to do the right thing and release people from jails and prisons, allowing them to safely quarantine and social distance in their homes. Call your local public officials (sheriff’s offices, state’s attorneys, governors, etc.) and demand that they take action before it’s too late! We won in Oakland County, Michigan and we will win again!
People sitting in jails and prisons are now facing death due to the inaction of public officials across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. 670,000 people languish in local jails, most of whom have not been convicted of a crime.
During pandemics, jails are ticking time bombs: people are jailed in cramped quarters, cannot practice social distancing and don’t have regular access to soap or adequate health care. Jails and prisons fail to provide sufficient hand soap and alcohol-based sanitizers to the people detained in and working in these settings. Once inside this perfect breeding ground, the virus will rapidly spread, leading to countless illnesses and deaths both in and out of the facility.
If these community residents are not released to their families in the coming days, health care services in jails and prisons will quickly be overwhelmed, leaving a devastating death toll. This death toll won’t only affect those inside once the inadequate health care inside the jail has been pushed to its limits. We must secure the immediate release of people detained inhumanely and now terrified for their lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Decarceration and COVID-19: Stories and Strategies from Communities
In the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Advancement Project National Office brought together organizers and activists from across the country to discuss how decarceration was an essential strategy for COVID-19 prevention; participants from partner organizations shared strategies and inspirations behind the fight to ensure loved ones and community members inside prions, jails, and immigrations detention centers are #FreeAndSafe.
If you live in Detroit, East Baton Rouge, Miami, or St. Louis, Ben & Jerry's is helping you find your local elected officials. Use this tool to call for incarcerated persons to be #FreeAndSafe from COVID-19!
- January 2, 2021 - Close the Workhouse Campaign Statement on City Jail Protests and Transfers
- July 17, 2020 - Huge Win in Campaign to Close Notorious St. Louis Jail
- March 31, 2020 - National Civil Rights Organizations Take Legal Action to Protect People Locked Inside St. Louis Jails
- Read St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mayor keeps workhouse referendum off April 6 St. Louis ballot
- Read The Washington Post: After St. Louis jail unrest, inmates’ advocates allege desperate conditions while officials defend pandemic response
- Read Jacobin: St. Louis’s Shameful Workhouse Jail Must Be Shut Down
- Read The St. Louis American: St. Louis City Board of Aldermen vote to close The Workhouse
- Read Riverfront Times: Lawsuit: St. Louis' Cash Bail System Creates Coronavirus Danger
- Read St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Ben and Jerry's joins campaign to close St. Louis city workhouse
To take action in St. Louis:
Call Mayor Lyda Krewson:
Tweet at Mayor Lyda Krewson:
Petition to Missouri State Leaders
- October 16, 2020 - Statement: Miami COVID-19 Case Dismissal
- April 30, 2020 - Federal Judge Orders Miami Jail To Follow CDC Guidelines Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
- April 8, 2020 - Local and National Civil Rights Organizations Win Temporary Restraining Order to Protect the Health of People in Miami Jail Ahead of COVID-19 Outbreak
- April 7, 2020 - Local and National Civil Rights Organizations Take Legal Action, Urging Miami Jail to Immediately Release People Ahead of Deadly COVID-19 Spread
- Read Miami Herald: An elderly Miami-Dade jail inmate was diagnosed with COVID-19. He died at the hospital
- Read Miami Herald: Court: Miami jail can’t be forced to give inmates soap, tests during coronavirus outbreak
- Read Local 10 News: Judge orders Miami-Dade to increase coronavirus protections at Metro West Detention Center
- Read Miami Herald: Sickly Miami-Dade inmates, fearful of the coronavirus, file lawsuit to get out of jail
- Read The Appeal: What it's like inside a Miami jail as coronavirus spreads: "This place is a petri dish for disease"
- May 21, 2020 - Michigan: First Federal Court Win Ordering Release of Medically Vulnerable People in our Country’s Jails
- May 5, 2020 - Civil Rights Organizations Sue Wayne County Jail for Immediate Release of Vulnerable People Ahead of Deadly COVID-19 Spread
- April 17, 2020 - Civil Rights Organizations Sue Oakland County Jail For Immediate Release of Vulnerable People Ahead of Deadly COVID-19 Spread
- Read Detroit Free Press: Oakland County wins appeal in jail inmates' COVID-19 pandemic lawsuit
- Read Fox 2 Detroit: Judge issues order for early release of medically vulnerable jail inmates
- Read The Appeal: Lawsuit Seeks the Release of “Medically Vulnerable” People Held at Oakland County Jail in Michigan
- Read Detroit Free Press: Inmates, advocacy groups sue Wayne County Sheriff over COVID-19 response in jails
- Read The Detroit News: Inmate: Oakland jail officers threatened to put us in COVID area
- Read WXYZ 7 ABC: 'Many jails still do not do any testing.' Advocates push for more focus on Michigan jails & COVID
- Read USA Today: My locked up brother is no threat to society, but coronavirus threatens him
East Baton Rouge
- August 19, 2020 - Civil Rights Organizations Debunk Myths of No COVID-19 Cases in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison
- December 15, 2020 - National Civil Rights Groups Sue Louisiana Judges, Sheriff Over Unconstitutional Bail System
- May 21, 2020 - Civil Rights Organizations Sue East Baton Rouge Parish Prison For Immediate Release of Vulnerable People Ahead of Deadly COVID-19 Spread
- Read The Advocate: Protestors criticize East Baton Rouge jail for inmate deaths: '44, no more!'
- Read The Advocate: National advocacy groups file lawsuit arguing bail practices penalize Baton Rouge poor
- Read The Advocate: Baton Rouge jail inmate, locked up for failure to appear in court, dies at hospital
Sign on to our petition to tell Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards it's time to release incarcerated persons today.
Petition to Louisiana Governor
John Bel Edwards
Decarceration Webinar Presentation Slides with Additional Links to Resources
Watch the Full Decarceration Webinar
Template Letter for ICE and Corrections