The United States has now surpassed 1 million COVID deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. When the U.S. was nearing 100,000 deaths, the New York Times called it “an incalculable loss.” This is that times 10—and yet the 2 million people currently in prisons and jails in this country still do not have the adequate protections that they need from this deadly virus.
In June of 2020, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) launched the #JusUs campaign to demand that federal and state policymakers immediately adopt policy recommendations to save the lives of incarcerated people during any type of major crisis or emergency. This call to action inspired the Correctional Facility Disaster Preparedness Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
As we said at the time, in a world with increasing natural and human-made disasters, having emergency management plans in place to release the country’s most vulnerable people—most of whom are disproportionately Black and Brown—is the difference between life and death.
As the country passes this grim milestone, JLUSA is more determined than ever. We call on everyone of conscience to join in this fight for the lives of all those who have been sentenced to time but not death. Learn more about the demands of the #JustUs campaign and send a letter to your elected officials now calling on them to pass the Correctional Facility Disaster Preparedness Act.
Stephen Roach Knight