Coalición pide al gobernador Walz que use la autoridad ejecutiva de emergencia para proteger a los que están en prisión durante COVID-19

Abril 15, 2020
Gobernador Tim Walz
130 Capitolio del estado
75 Rev Dr.. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Estimado Gobernador Walz,

A medida que COVID-19 continúa extendiéndose por todo el país y nuestro estado, tanto el sector público como el privado están tomando medidas extraordinarias para proteger la salud y la seguridad de nuestros ciudadanos. Le agradecemos sus esfuerzos para mitigar la propagación del mortal virus COVID-19 durante esta pandemia sin precedentes. Las vidas sin duda se han salvado por sus acciones tempranas y decisivas para mantener a los Minnesotanos seguros.

Al considerar los próximos pasos para combatir esta pandemia, les pedimos que tenga en cuenta a algunos de los más vulnerables entre nosotros - hombres encarcelados, mujeres, y la juventud en los centros correccionales del estado, los oficiales que trabajan en estas instalaciones, y vecinos en las comunidades circundantes – y tomar medidas igualmente rápidas y decisivas dentro de su autoridad ejecutiva.

Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades han publicado pautas que indican que los 60 años de edad y personas con enfermedades crónicas, incluyendo enfermedad pulmonar, enfermedad cardíaca, y la diabetes tienen un mayor riesgo de contraer COVID-19 y son más propensas a sufrir enfermedades graves y muerte. Las prisiones tienen un gran número de personas de edad avanzada y una tasa mucho mayor de personas con sistemas inmunitarios comprometidos que el público en general. La semana pasada, ESTADOS UNIDOS. El Fiscal General William Barr emitió una orden de emergencia que aumentó el grupo de elegibilidad para la consideración de confinamiento en el hogar, priorizar las instalaciones más afectadas por COVID-19 en Louisiana, Ohio, y Connecticut.

Muchas personas recluidas en centros penitenciarios en todo Minnesota son ancianos, Enfermo, o de otra manera
Immunocompromised. En las prisiones de Minnesota, más de 16% de la población es más de la edad de 50, Aproximadamente 1,500 personas, y un número desproporcionado tienen condiciones de salud que los hacen más vulnerables. Las personas encarceladas no solo tienen un mayor riesgo de infección y necesitan cuidados intensivos, pero los oficiales correccionales, aplicación de la ley, y el personal médico también está en riesgo de atrapar y propagar el coronavirus a sus familias y comunidades y no puede trabajar, lo que nos hace a todos menos seguros. Y cuando los funcionarios correccionales y otros funcionarios de prisiones comienzan a enfermarse, recursos se extenderán más delgado, haciendo que sea más difícil para el Departamento de Correcciones de Minnesota (Doc) para contener este virus y mantener un ambiente penitenciario seguro. Debido a que el DOC no tiene camas de UCI, también añadirán tensión adicional a los recursos de atención de salud ya estresados en sus comunidades.

There is enormous bipartisan support from national groups such as Prison Fellowship, Justice Action Network, REFORM Alliance, Brennan Center, Faith and Freedom Coalition, American Conservative Union, and Americans for Prosperity for additional commonsense steps that can balance the need to keep our communities safe, while preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in correctional facilities and the public at large. The unprecedented nature of this pandemic requires strong leadership to mitigate its spread, especially in Minnesota prisons and jails, before the state’s healthcare facilities are overwhelmed.

  • Nos, los abajo firmantes, make the following recommendations for the State, and where appropriate and under your authority, ask that you take executive action:
  • To temporarily transfer incarcerated individuals who are elderly and immunocompromised, pregnant, or otherwise deemed at grave risk of contracting COVID-19, to home confinement or another location, unless such action would compromise public safety;
  • To quickly transfer individuals within 90 days of the end of their prison sentences to home confinement, unless such action would compromise public safety;
  • To release individuals serving time in prison or jail for technical violations of probation, unless such action would compromise public safety;
  • To suspend the use of incarceration, and utilize alternative sanctions where appropriate, for technical violations of probation, unless such action would compromise public safety;
  • To suspend conditions of supervision that require in-person meetings, such as in-person check-ins with supervision officers; utilize alternative methods of communication, such as phone check-ins with supervision officers and phone meetings with programming/support groups;
  • To provide (free of charge) protective equipment including masks and gloves for routine sanitary cleanings of facilities, hand sanitizer and/or soap to all incarcerated people, and order wardens to educate all prisoners on proper hygiene practices to avoid the spread of the disease;
  • To provide (free of charge) masks and gloves to incarcerated people and staff who conduct cleanings of facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • To provide regular free phone calls and video visits for incarcerated people during this crisis, especially since regular visitation to correctional facilities has been suspended. Maintaining ties to their families and communities are key factors in keeping a safe environment in prisons and reducing recidivism upon release;
  • To order all prison and jail facilities to conduct daily health checks of all incarcerated individuals to monitor symptoms; to examine those entering and exiting facilities for symptoms, including correctional officers and staff, new admissions to facilities, and other necessary visitors such as vendors and medical staff; y
  • To stop suspending driver’s licenses and reinstate driver’s licenses that have been suspended for violations unrelated to dangerous driving, such as failure to pay fines or fees or appear on traffic tickets, until at least 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency. Use of personal vehicles allows for social distancing during essential travel that is not possible when using public transportation or carpooling.

Taken together, these steps can keep our communities safe while lessening the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated people and the state at large. Como usted sabe, Minnesota’s county attorneys, public defenders, and judges have been leaders at the local level in enacting common-sense changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts have resulted in a 39% reduction in county-led populations in the State’s largest counties.

We appreciate that the Department of Corrections has already begun to implement some of these recommendations, and we want to emphasize the urgency and importance of moving quickly and comprehensively. Now is the time to take concrete steps toward mitigating the spread of this disease in prisons and jails before the state’s healthcare system is overwhelmed. We are eager to work with your administration and to serve as a resource throughout this process.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sinceramente,

William Ward
State Public Defender
MN Board of Public Defense

Jason Adkins
Director Ejecutivo
Conferencia Católica de Minnesota

Holly Harris
Director Ejecutivo
Justice Action Network

Randy Anderson
Vice President
MN Second Chance Coalition

Anna Odegaard
Director Ejecutivo
Minnesota Asset Building Coalition

Tuleah Palmer
Director Ejecutivo
Northwest Indian Community Development Center

Jason Flohrs
State Director
Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota

Jason Pye
Vice President of Legislative Affairs
FreedomWorks

Grover Norquist
Presidente
Americans for Tax Reform

David Safavian
General Counsel
American Conservative Union

Arthur Rizer
Director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Policy
R Street Institute

Heather Rice-Minus
Vice President of Government Affairs & Church Mobilization
Prison Fellowship

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