Texas Winter Storm Threatens Thousands of Incarcerated People

February 19, 2021

NEW YORK — The winter storm continues to hammer Texas, causing power outages to correctional facilities and leaving thousands of incarcerated people without access to food, water, or electrical power.  JustLeadershipUSA President and CEO DeAnna Hoskins issued the following statement:

“The tragedy that has occured to incarcerated people in Texas as a result of this massive storm illustrates how marginalized people in prisons and jails — who are disproportionately Black and brown — are still treated as disposable in the United States. These men and women have been charged to the care of the state, but their lives are now at risk.

“What we are seeing is that JustLeadership’s #JustUS campaign is needed now, more so than ever before. Climate change has put us in a state of emergency, and too many incarcerated people are now facing the twin assaults of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with snow storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters. Because of government indifference to the very real threat of climate change and the basic human dignity of people in correctional facilities, our incarcerated brothers and sisters risk starving, freezing temperatures and death. Now, people behind bars in Texas have the additional insult of not having enough money for their commissaries — the basic, human necessities they need to live!

“Formerly incarcerated people have always been the experts on how to decarcerate the United States, and our voices are needed more than ever. It is imperative that we free people trapped in correctional facilities, by mandating comprehensive solutions that uphold the human dignity of incarcerated people and protect their lives.

“As other communities evacuate to safety from impending natural disasters, incarcerated people are STILL being left behind, and these inequities must end immediately. Incarcerated people have the right to be safe in the event of man-made or natural disasters. No one deserves to die behind bars!”

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