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To: County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, Chief Administrative Judge Sheila Tillerson-Adams

Decarcerate Prince George’s County Jail NOW!

Public health officials have been clear -- in order to truly flatten the curve in Prince George's County then elected officials must do everything in their power to immediately reduce the jail population & improve the safety conditions for those who remain incarcerated.

Demands:

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
- Immediately suspend all new admissions to the county jail and instruct all law enforcement to stop arresting individuals on low-level offenses
- Immediately advocate releasing of any person who tests positive for COVID-19 to a medical care facility, away from the rest of the incarcerated population
- Immediately identify medically vulnerable people in the general population and specifically in the pre-trial population, then coordinate with the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office to petition the court for their immediate release.
- Develop and implement testing protocols for all people who live, work and visit inside jails
- Avoid all actions that would bring individuals into contact with courthouses, jails, and prisons,

State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy
- Affirmatively consent to the pretrial release of all individuals, unless there is clear evidence that release would present an unreasonable risk to the physical safety of the community
- Decline criminal charges whenever possible. Decline to issue charges for relatively minor offenses and crimes of poverty where there is no specific human victim, including but not limited to possession of a controlled substance, theft, receiving stolen property, trespassing, sex-work related offenses, peace disturbance, criminal nonsupport, tampering, property damage, and all traffic offenses
- Refuse to ask the court to issue “failure to appear” warrants or, “bench warrants” and agree to jointly waive the appearance of people who are out-of-custody issuing on all low-level felonies
- Require prosecutors to provide a public health/COVID-19-informed justification for any actions/requests that would bring folks into courthouses, jails, and prisons. Ensure those justifications are on the record for public scrutiny.
- Suspend pretrial diversion program requirements until the courts resume normal operations, and discharge from diversion program requirements those individuals who have completed a significant portion of their specific program

Chief Administrative Judge Sheila Tillerson-Adams
- Expedite a process to immediately review and lift all probation and parole detainers
- Direct all Judges to immediately stop setting monetary bonds that require payment to be secured before a defendant can be released
- Refuse to issue “failure to appear” warrants or, “bench warrants” and agree to jointly waive the appearance of people who are out-of-custody issuing on all low-level felonies

Why is this important?

Prince George’s County jail is a hotbed of human rights abuses in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Credible reports from whistleblowers inside of the Prince George’s County jail detail how correctional officers and jail officials have ignored early cases of COVID-19 contributing to community spread, penalized those who were infected, failed to provide adequate medical care, and resorted to illegally detaining people who have been bonded out but are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

When not ignored entirely, symptomatic detainees are given nothing but Tylenol and sent back and forth between their housing units and the medical unit, exposing numerous others along their route. In certain housing units, detainees are punished or threatened with punishment by trying to use their clothing and linens to fashion personal protective equipment they are otherwise denied. For those who do test positive for Coronavirus, they are locked in an isolation cell where blood, feces, and mucus covers the walls. In the isolation cell, they are denied basic hygiene supplies, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, for days. They are not allowed to shower for at least two weeks.

During that time, they are forced to wear the same clothing for days, sometimes even a week or more, and often the same clothing in which they sweated through their fevers. They are denied access to telephones and any ability to communicate with the outside world. Even within the medical unit, any medical conditions that can’t be addressed through routine medication are ignored. They are trapped in cages, treated like animals, rather than the human beings they are.

COVID-19 cases in New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC show that jails become ground-zero for pandemics because they are ill-equipped to allow social distancing, provide PPE, and provide adequate sterilization.

The best way to contain the virus is to release as many people as possible from detention, limit the number of arrests in order to stem the flow of people in and out the jails and provide critical medical care for those who remain incarcerated during the pandemic.

Prince George's County, MD, USA

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Updates

2020-05-27 08:33:02 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2020-04-23 08:34:08 -0700

500 signatures reached

2020-04-18 10:23:07 -0700

100 signatures reached

2020-04-18 07:12:36 -0700

50 signatures reached

2020-04-17 22:34:35 -0700

25 signatures reached

2020-04-17 17:42:46 -0700

10 signatures reached