• COVID-19 is A Threat to Our Youth - Tell Maryland to #BringOurKidsHome
    Maryland incarcerates hundreds of children across seven youth jails centers and six state-run youth prisons. Like adult jails and prisons, juvenile facilities are inherently high-risk environments where the disease can spread quickly. Children are housed closely together in units or dormitory-style housing, precisely the kind of conditions that have led to the closure of universities all over the country. Even in well-run facilities, the social distancing recommended by the CDC is simply impossible. In such a setting, most of what we can do to protect against the spread of the virus is detrimental to children’s well-being. DJS stopped allowing visitors weeks ago, meaning lawyers can’t visit their clients and families can’t visit their children. School and other programming is cancelled. The use of solitary confinement, which is deeply traumatizing for a child and yet, DJS is already using increased isolation in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of these factors not only put a child’s emotional health at risk, they also jeopardize their long-term rehabilitation. Research by health care experts shows that incarcerated populations are most at-risk during a public health crisis. COVID-19 spread quickly in enclosed spaces such as cruise ships and nursing homes and it will spread just as quickly in detention centers, prisons, and jails. Contagious viruses such as COVID-19 spread much faster in detention centers and prisons as incarcerated youth are in close quarters and sometimes in unsanitary conditions. Behind bars, youth are not able to participate in proactive measures to keep themselves safe, such as social distancing, frequently washing hands, or staying in sanitized spaces. Infection control is a challenge in these situations as incarcerated youth are often in large congregate and communal settings. Even if youth are in individual cells, ventilation is often inadequate. Further, youth jails and prisons are unlikely equipped to meet the medical needs of youth if a COVID-19 outbreak inside juvenile detention or correctional facility should occur. Youth will not have many options to stay away from other youth if they become ill and there are limited infirmary beds. If staff become ill, it will be difficult to provide care and support to youth and if lockdowns are utilized, it will only intensify virus infection rates. The J.S. Weese Carter Center was already forced to close when a vendor could no longer service the facility. To stave off a public health emergency in our juvenile jails and prisons, we must immediately and dramatically reduce the number of children who are incarcerated. For those who remain in custody, we must do all we can to protect their health, safety, and constitutional rights. To that end, we call on state and local officials to take swift action. To protect our young people, those who work in these facilities, and the broader community, we must immediately reduce the number of young people in custody as quickly as possible. We are all feeling fear and uncertainty about the future. Imagine how that terror is magnified for families separated from their children by prison bars. Our youth are the future of our nation and, recognizing that the majority of young people in detention and correctional facilities across Maryland are removed from their communities for non-violent charges and pose no threat to community safety, it is unacceptable to allow children to be separated from their families during this global crisis. No one is sure when this crisis will end. But we know that most kids grow out of delinquent behavior without any system involvement. It's time for Maryland to give young people a chance and #BringOurKidsHome.
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    Created by Jenny Egan
  • Tell FL Governor Ron DeSantis to freeze Rent, Mortgage, Bills & Tolls during Corona Virus.
    Our goal for this petition is to help all of Floridians during the Corona Virus outbreak who are facing hardship such as immobilization due to hospitalization, sickness, being laid off without severance package or permitted to use PTO. The businesses receive government relief before its people- leaving people vulnerable. It'll take weeks even months before our constituents receive the stimulus. The stimulus distribution will only help cover human necessities (replenish food, medicine, gloves, masks, gas, etc) not to pay rent, mortgage, bills, and tolls.
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    Created by Joanis Duran Picture
  • Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis - Please freeze rent, mortgages, and utilities
    "If people cannot work, they cannot afford to pay bills". Recently, thousands of people have been laid off and are left unemployed yet people are still required to pay their bills. In particular, most college students rely on one source of income and now there is no money flowing in to pay our bills. Due to the spread of the Coronavirus, people are faced with very hard and confusing decisions: in some instances, people cannot work because of their own immune system and their family household situations. Some organizations and businesses are lucky to resort to online or work-from-home situations but the food and retail industry cannot resort to that option rather they are closing. For example, people have lost their jobs in restaurants, gyms, and bars due to the recent closures. Some are fighting for hours for the stores still open but their paychecks will be negatively affected. Many people are left with no income. Please comment your own situation to raise awareness and to show the importance of this matter.
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    Created by Hannah Hammond
  • Governor of Kentucky Andy Beshear Please Freeze Rent, Mortgages, Car Payments and Utilities
    In the past 2 weeks thousands of residences in Kentucky have been laid off do to their employer closing and most won’t be able to pay bills including rent, mortgages, car payments or basic utilities. College students have been forced go home because they don’t have a roof over their head during these hard times! We need our governor more than ever to stand with us and help us get through this. Thank you!
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    Created by People Of Kentucky
  • DECARCERATE ARIZONA: CRIMINALIZATION AND INCARCERATION ARE NOT PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS!
    Thousands of incarcerated people being caged together in small spaces with no real options for quarantine are far more susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic than most other populations. Due to substandard medical care, incarcerated people suffer disproportionately from chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus which will have disastrous effects. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails are a risk to the entire community. To slow the cycle of people in and out of jail, we must drastically reduce jail and detention center admissions. Less people in jails and detention centers is a definite way to prevent the spread of disease. Public officials must reduce the prison, jail, and detention center's population size to ensure cells are not shared, there are sufficient medical beds for anyone who may need one, and adequate numbers of prison staff to ensure safety for staff, those incarcerated, and visitors. And for those currently in prison, the only public health solution is RELEASE! Arizona cannot afford a failed response to COVID-19!
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    Created by Mass Liberation Arizona Picture
  • Urge Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to freeze rent, mortgage, and bill payments during COVID-19 Crisis
    Petitioning has the potential to enact real change, but it’s also your fundamental right as an American citizen, and an opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded people who are invested in making a change. Ideally, running a petition is just the start of something bigger — a long-term, robust form of civic engagement. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
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    Created by Maxi Mertens Picture
  • 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
  • Humanity Not Cages: Demand a Just and Humane Response to COVID-19
    It is not a matter of if but when the coronavirus will enter prisons and jails, according to health experts. The consequences of that eventuality will be devastating. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails will spread “like wildfire” due to close quarters, unsanitary conditions, a population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19, and the large number of people that cycle through the criminal justice system. The risk extends far beyond those who are incarcerated. COVID-19 outbreaks in jails and prisons threaten the larger public, as hundreds of thousands of individuals churn through jails on a daily basis and correctional, medical and other staff interact with the incarcerated population and circulate back into communities. With 2.3 million people in the United States in prison or jail on any given day, an outbreak in these facilities poses a threat to the entire country. If federal, state, and local officials take swift action, they can not only prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons, jails, and detention centers and ensure the safety and wellness of our loved ones behind cages, but they can also have an enormous impact on the wellness of the rest of the country.
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    Created by Dalila Reynoso Picture
  • 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
  • Release people incarcerated pre-trial in Forsyth County
    Even though public visitation has been suspended at the LEDC, all people incarcerated are still at high risk for infection due to their close-quarters living situation. Any guard, other staff, or newly processed detainee could potentially introduce the virus into the population, where it would rapidly spread. Staff members and at least one person incarcerated at multiple prisons in other states already tested positive for COVID-19. It is only a matter of time before it reaches the LEDC as well. Drastically reducing the jail population will limit the harm COVID-19 is able to cause. This is especially true when it comes to those already vulnerable—the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The longer the jail continues to house people, the greater the risk grows to those individuals, their attorneys, their families, LEDC staff, and the community at large. Measures such as visitation lockdowns and segregation are not likely to be effective. The daily churn of potentially asymptomatic people—both incarcerated and employed—in and out of the jail will facilitate the spread of COVID-19 within the jail and the community at large. The fewer people present in the LEDC, the lesser the risk. Mecklenburg and Buncombe counties—in addition to out-of-state jails in and around LosAngeles, Cleveland, and New York City—have already begun releasing incarcerated people in the interest of public health. The Forsyth County Community Bail Fund urges Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines, Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, District Attorney Jim O’Neill, Chief Magistrate Denise Hines, Clerk of Superior Court Renita Thompkins Linville, Chief Probation/Parole Officer Sherri Cook, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Hon. Todd Burke, and Chief District Judge Hon. Lisa Menefee to take necessary and immediate action to save lives. Signed, Forsyth County Community Bail Fund ACLU of North Carolina The Bail Project Community Justice Center Hate Out of Winston Prisoner Outreach Initiative Triad NC Socialist Rifle Association Wake Forest Baptist Church Winston-Salem Democratic Socialists of America Aramie Bloom Julie Brady Jen Oleniczak Brown - Fearless Winston-Salem Richardo Brown Jocelyn Bryant - Triad Central Labor Council President Chris Cecile - Triad Central Labor Council Vice President Nathan Davis Sara González Ricky Johnson Jr. Chris Lutz Pastor Lia Scholl Molly Morgan Lillian Podlog Cody Remillard Emily Thompson Brittany Ward
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    Created by Julie Brady
  • Humanity Not Cages: Demand a Just and Humane Response to COVID-19
    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the legal system to a halt in Los Angeles County. Superior Court Judge Kevin Brazile, the county’s presiding judge, has issued three orders taking steps to address COVID-19, but none of them outline the policies necessary to quickly and appropriately depopulate the jails—the most important way to curb the spread of the disease and save thousands of lives. On March 17, Brazile issued his initial order closing all courts in the county for three days. Five days later, he ordered the Sylmar Courthouse to be closed for three days following the news that a deputy public defender tested positive for coronavirus. On March 23, Brazile blocked public access to all county courthouses, placed delays on many criminal cases, and ordered the prioritization of bail hearings. While these types of emergency orders appropriately protect judges, attorneys, and court staff from this deadly virus, they may make the situation all the more dangerous for the thousands of Angelenos, mostly Black and Latinx, who remain trapped in jails and juvenile halls, awaiting court dates. The conditions inside Los Angeles County jails and juvenile halls are already appalling. In Men’s Central Jail, some people share a cell about six feet by six feet, and generally only leave the cell for one hour a day. They lack necessary hygiene products and adequate medical treatment. Under ordinary circumstances, the jail is unsafe; during this pandemic, it is a death sentence. The virus has entered the courts, and over the weekend, a person who is incarcerated in one of the jails tested positive for COVID-19; several individuals’ test results are pending. It is only a matter of time before the virus spreads, as it has in jails around the country. On March 24, Brazile issued a press release announcing that an agreed upon list of individuals held pretrial will be released from custody. However, this announcement lacked any information about the criteria for release, the number of people who will be released, or a long-term release strategy. There is still no information on whether people on this list have been released. Those who remain in custody, however, could remain locked up in these dangerous conditions for even longer than usual. As part of Brazile’s March 17 order, those booked into custody for felonies may now have to wait seven days before seeing a judge, instead of the usual 48 hours, and their trials can be extended by up to an additional 30 days. Faced with the possibility of an additional month in jail awaiting trial, and at extreme risk of contracting a deadly disease, most people will give up their trial right, or plead out, if it means getting out sooner. This coercive process is unfair, undermines the integrity of our courts, and can saddle people with wrongful convictions and lifelong consequences. Brazile has the power to right this ship and implement policies that protect everyone. California law allows judges to release adults charged with misdemeanors and all non-capital felony offenses without imposing money bail. The judiciary took the appropriate step and mandated $0 bail for most misdemeanors and certain categories of felonies. It is unclear whether these standards apply to individuals who were arrested and incarcerated before the COVID-19 crisis. It is urgent that people in custody pretrial are evaluated and quickly released, particularly those who are in custody simply because they cannot afford bail. If the judiciary does not act, thousands of lives will continue to be at risk. While courts are closed to the public, attorneys, judges, and court employees are still going to court. According to Court Watch Los Angeles, some courtrooms had 30 to 40 people present as recently as March 20, clearly violating social distancing recommendations. With potential plans to proceed by consolidating even more cases in fewer courtrooms in the county, this situation could be exacerbated. By overburdening courtrooms with more cases, it is certain that people in custody will remain there longer while waiting to see a judge or resolve their case. This is why Brazile must act immediately and order a release of a broad group of people: those who are not substantially likely to cause bodily harm to another person and those who are being held solely on probation/parole violations. In addition, judges should use their authority to release, without setting bail, those brought into court on their first appearances. Hearings for people out-of-custody should be postponed so that courts can prioritize arraignments, preliminary hearings, trials, and juvenile detention hearings for all individuals in custody and hold them within the normal statutory time limits. When hearings do occur, each courthouse should identify practices that allow for the social distancing necessary to keep everyone safe. Failure to do the above will severely endanger people trapped in jail during this pandemic, as well as the jail staff, their families and their communities. Judge Brazile must act now, before it’s too late. Alicia Virani is the Gilbert Foundation associate director of the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law and was previously a public defender in Orange County. Update: On Thursday, after this article was published, Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile issued an order indicating that Los Angeles County courts will extend preliminary hearings, trials, and arraignments well beyond what his March 17 order outlined: People in jail and charged with a felony may now have to wait up to 30 court days—the equivalent of six weeks—for their preliminary hearing and an additional 60 days for their trial.
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    Created by Eunisses Hernandez
  • We've Had Enough!
    Our human and civil rights are at stake. For years, Black people have been treated unfairly when visiting Miami Beach. The constant maltreatment of Black visitors on Miami Beach during high impact days such as Spring Break, Memorial Day weekend and others will no longer be tolerated. We've had enough of being racially targeted, assaulted, and shot by the City of Miami Beach police and nothing being done about it! We are demanding changes to take place now. Let's make changes happen together. Sign this petition today! For more information, email miamidadecommunications@gmail.
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    Created by Dwight Bullard