CARES Act doesn’t do nearly enough to keep incarcerated people safe from coronavirus, says JustLeadershipUSA

March 28, 2020

New York, NY – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act just passed in the House. The bill designates $850 million for federal, state and local law enforcement in an effort to address staffing shortages and the growing spread of the virus within jails. JLUSA issued the following statement on the urgency around protecting incarcerated people from the virus.

Said DeAnna Hoskins, CEO of JustLeadershipUSA:

“While we are thankful that Congress passed a coronavirus relief package, the law does not do nearly enough to help the millions of incarcerated people across the nation. Prisons and jails are quickly becoming hotbeds for coronavirus.

While some facilities are trying to mitigate this by releasing certain incarcerated people and upping safety measures, these efforts are far from sufficient. The only way to protect our incarcerated populations from this pandemic is to release more people from behind bars immediately.

Importantly, we cannot return to ‘business as usual’ at facilities after this crisis passes. Prisons and jails consistently have poor health conditions and facilitate the rapid spread of disease. The coronavirus crisis is simply shining a light on these flaws. We must use the pandemic to catalyze national momentum towards decarceration.

At this time of national crisis, it inspires hope that Congress came together to help Americans navigate and overcome the challenges we are facing. Unfortunately, many incarcerated people are left behind by this law. It’s imperative that our laws stress the need to decarcerate America, and to uplift and center the voices of directly-impacted people nationwide.


JustLeadershipUSA is dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in #halfby2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform.

Carolyn Clendenin

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