Subscribe to our newsletters for regular updates, analysis and context straight to your email.
Support a worker-led Appeal. donate today.
Only 7 percent of tenants in the state have legal representation in eviction proceedings. A bill in the Connecticut house is trying to change that.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a start, but more public investment is needed to address racial inequality in the labor market.
At the urging of advocates, Governor Tom Wolf signed off on all remaining commutations applications on his desk.
Policies that helped keep people in their homes—and keep the utilities on—reduced COVID-19 deaths and infections.
The intense backlash to his recent comments criticizing $2,000 stimulus checks signal the growing momentum for guaranteed income programs—and the emerging power of voters who care more about substantive results than partisan skirmishes.
The percentage of people held pretrial for six months or longer is up six percent from January of last year, according to a UCLA School of Law report.
In Granite City, Illinois, landlords have been penalized for refusing to evict tenants who have criminal records or are simply living with someone who does.
It’s time for political leaders, no matter their party, to listen to voters—and provide financial relief from the pandemic.
Decades of exploitation, abuse, and racism in medicine have cost many Black Americans their lives during the pandemic. Now the government can act to prevent further harm.
Landlords have continued forcing renters out of their homes, despite a patchwork of protections from federal and local governments. Now, with the CDC moratorium set to expire on Dec. 31, millions of Americans could be evicted.
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, which recorded and published the complaints, paid for the release of some incarcerated women on Saturday.
The report found that spread inside correctional facilities contributed to community spread, particularly in California, Florida and Texas.
The Court’s willingness to infer discrimination against Judeo-Christian religions from poorly articulated remarks that accompanied a public health response to COVID-19 may make other laws and policies vulnerable to claims of religious discrimination as well.
The coronavirus has ripped through our prison and jail populations, infecting and killing hundreds of thousands of people most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Cities across the country have continued to displace and criminalize homelessness during the pandemic, though the CDC cautions clearing encampments can heighten the potential for the spread of COVID-19.
New York City’s jail population is close to reaching pre-pandemic levels. Advocates say dishonest fearmongering about bail reform—and the politicians who capitulated to it—have created a very real safety crisis.
In addition to the releases he has already ordered, the New York governor can grant commutations to free more incarcerated people to protect them from the disease. He has issued only three since the pandemic began.
The governor has rolled back bail reform, not released enough prisoners during the pandemic, and failed to rein in police abuses, advocates and prisoners say.
Progressive lawmakers and activists say Cuomo has failed to adequately protect those who are out of work, at risk of losing their homes, or living behind bars, where the virus has spread rapidly.
Tara Francis Chan,
Bowman has also advocated for an eviction moratorium and for rental payments to be cancelled for the duration of the pandemic.
Sanchez is running for one of the state House seats that Democrats are hoping to flip.
A California appeals court orders San Quentin prison to reduce its population by half, the ACLU’s Death by Incarceration project paints a stark picture of COVID-19’s toll, and a new law grants early release to 3,000 New Jersey prisoners.
Efforts by elected leaders in several states are making it harder to get to the polls and fomenting misinformation about the election amid a pandemic.
The group is seeing real challenges posed by the pandemic, voter suppression tactics, and threats of intimidation.
The state representative wants to bar landlords in Pennsylvania from reporting missed or late rent payments to credit agencies.
COVID-19 has exposed a huge gap in knowledge over the rights of hospitalized prisoners, Wisconsin sees a spike in new cases in correctional facilities, and vitamin D might help save the lives of incarcerated people.
Passing the HEROES Act would provide crucial protections to some of the most vulnerable essential workers, they say.
A ruling by a Texas judge slams officials for deliberate indifference toward vulnerable prisoners; in San Diego, an ill-advised hospital visit led to a massive COVID-19 outbreak; and a new report finds an alarming increase of Latinx and Native American youth in juvenile-detention facilities.
A new report documents pandemic-driven efforts to release people from Chicago’s Cook County jail, how Virginia’s 900-page COVID-19 response plan has failed elderly and ill prisoners and federal prosecutors argue that a life sentence equals a death sentence.
New Jersey is close to enacting a law that would release up to 3,000 people from prison, advocates urge New York legislators to consider early parole for elderly prisoners, and California prisons see a new spike in coronavirus cases.
In a typical election, Natives face multiple forms of voter suppression. With more than one-third of Americans expected to vote by mail this year, Native communities are facing a new set of problems.
Experts discuss ongoing issues with COVID-19 in prisons and jails, Oklahoma prison officials agree to mandatory testing of all staff, and an incarcerated journalist pens a heart-wrenching account of his experience with coronavirus.
In the face of a pandemic and police violence, elected leaders have failed to keep us safe and to champion the voices of marginalized communities like mine. Now it is time to determine our own future.
Documents obtained by the ACLU suggest that restarting executions caused a COVID-19 outbreak at a federal prison; Florida’s Brevard County jail says it quashed an outbreak, but a lack of testing raises questions; and San Quentin’s newspaper is publishing again.
After testing positive for COVID-19, Tommy Zeigler, whose case inspired legislation and multiple investigative reports, is missing in a Florida prison; advocates for women inside Oklahoma’s Eddie Warrior Correctional Center want to hear from Gov. Kevin Stitt; and men quarantined in a previously shuttered prison say they’re being forced to pee in cups.
Women at California’s Folsom prison fear that men with COVID-19 will be transferred into their building, a new report looks at the shockingly high rate of COVID-19 deaths among incarcerated people, and we update our ongoing case tracker map.
Members of Congress have introduced a bill that would create a National Center on Anti-Racism in Health.
Between the global pandemic and a nationwide economic crisis, voting rights advocates see a ‘perfect storm of barriers’ ahead that could prevent millions of people from casting a ballot in November.
As states move toward reopening, jails and prisons continue to report large COVID-19 outbreaks; researchers call for greater transparency in reporting infection rates; and prisoners at a New York federal jail say screening is limited to, ‘Are you OK?’
Tenants and progressive leaders who cried out for a national action must now grapple with two truths: This eviction moratorium will save lives, but everything about it is a page out of Trump’s re-election playbook.
California’s corrections secretary is retiring amid criticism over his handling of COVID-19 outbreaks, a Baltimore public defender describes his struggle to get an elderly client out of prison, and advocates for incarcerated people in Colorado want Gov. Jared Polis to consider more prisoner releases.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown considers releasing more people from prison, how California’s Fresno County quietly became a major COVID-19 cluster, and new updates to our coronavirus outbreak map.
Tom Wolf said Tuesday that legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana could help solve fiscal woes that arose from the pandemic, and address long-standing racial injustices.
As of Thursday, 993 incarcerated women and 62 staffers at Lowell Correctional Institution have tested positive for the virus. Two women have died.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ignores calls to release elderly people from Florida prisons, quarantines are no longer hampering California prison fire crews, and an update to our ongoing COVID-19 outbreak map.
Amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in state prisons, Oregon lawmakers grapple with decarceration plans; the Sacramento County Sheriff won’t share infection data with the oversight board; and Oklahoma corrections officials use CARES Act money to ’boost morale’.
California prison watchdog finds lapses in COVID-19 screening procedures, the ‘trailer jails’ that officials in one Missouri county praised as ‘innovative’ are the site of an outbreak, and the U.S. Marshals Service is blamed for spreading infections among federal detention facilities.
Newspaper fearmongers around releasing people from prison due to COVID-19, oversight agency urges state DOC to ease restrictions on people in prison who have faced months of lockdown due to pandemic, sheriff orders staff not to wear masks.
Some corporate landlords who received federal PPP loans are notorious for mistreating tenants.
New outbreaks continue to hit California prisons, advocates have harsh words for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and a longtime journalist weighs in on a sheriff’s decision to take a battle with the ACLU to the Supreme Court.
In difficult moments like this, we can’t let bad faith attacks set our community back. What our families need are resources and investment, not more police on the streets.
A new research project aims to better understand how COVID-19 spreads through jails, the virus continues to sweep through California’s death row, and federal prison employees are suing for hazard pay.
If the bill is signed into law later this month, about 20 percent of the state’s prison population could see their sentences reduced to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, including some people who have served lengthy sentences for violent crimes.
In New York, fewer people who have experienced sexual assault or rape have sought forensic exams at hospitals during the pandemic. But advocates suggest that’s not evidence of declining sexual violence.
Attorneys file a class-action lawsuit over the outbreak at a California forensic psychiatric hospital, cases increase among Vermont prisoners sent to Mississippi, plus a map of new cases.
They shared their stories as part of a lawsuit seeking urgent changes to protect prisoners. One prisoner wrote that a jail officer denied his request for a mask, so he tied old underwear around his face.
Amid sustained lockdowns and deteriorating conditions, prisoners and guards are reaching a breaking point; a new study shows decarceration is slowing amid increasing outbreaks in detention facilities; and HuffPost interviews a Rikers Island whistleblower.
Incompetence and inaction by California’s leaders are driving illness and death inside the state’s prison system.
According to people incarcerated and their loved ones, state officials are ignoring the spread of COVID-19 at New Haven Correctional Center.
Connecticut Bail Fund Hotline Volunteers
Dozens of Vermont prisoners sent to an out-of-state private prison test positive for COVID-19, new study shows the prison infection rate is more than four times the general public’s, and Jay-Z’s Team Roc sues a Mississippi prison over “sub-human and deplorable” conditions.
Precautions meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19—like remote hearings by video conferencing—have drastically changed the way people experience the judicial process, leaving some at a distinct disadvantage.
California watchdog agency that repeatedly warned of "dire consequences" of prison overcrowding urges lawmakers to implement reforms; human rights org tweets "keep-you-up-at-night horrifying" stories from Georgia jail; and we map out four days of coronavirus outbreaks.
COVID-19 tears through a Texas prison for medically fragile women; California prisons are flattening the curve on new diagnoses, but deaths continue to climb; and the ACLU finds jails releases haven’t led to an increase in crime.
Housing rights activists in California are pushing for taxation of rich residents to help the hundreds of thousands of people who may be at risk of losing housing after COVID-19 eviction restrictions end.
Hundreds were forced from an encampment to fenced-in, asphalt parking lots with no shade in Phoenix’s triple-digit summer heat. At least three people have died.
The advocates describe the reopening as unsafe and unnecessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
All lawmakers have a duty to use every available lever to reduce the number of people in prison, whether by compassionate release or expanded use of furloughs or some other mechanism. Taking these steps will demand immense political courage. But not doing it means consigning people—some just months away from release—to die preventable deaths.
As thousands of people are freed from local jails, a group of nonprofits and activist organizations says the city's housing authority must revamp its policies that banish the formerly incarcerated.
All but nine of California’s 35 prisons house more people than the facility was designed to hold.
Juan Moreno Haines,
Prisons that have lagged on releasing people have also seen significant COVID-19 outbreaks, one Indiana sheriff is spending his CARES Act money on high-tech virus prevention tools and California’s corrections chief says he’ll crack down on staff who refuse to wear masks.
How governors respond to this pandemic will define their legacy. They all face a choice: save lives in prisons now, or hand down potential death sentences with their inaction and watch harm ripple through communities and exacerbate inequities into future generations.
Miriam Aroni Krinsky
There are nearly 1,000 new cases at Seagoville Federal Correctional Institution in Texas, the Cook County Jail gets praise for its COVID-19 response, and California’s jail oversight board announces plans to collect and publish county-level data.
Public schools have long needed more funding to keep the bodies and minds of teachers, staff, and students safe. But these are not the investments our elected officials choose to make.
Today’s update focuses on major outbreaks in two state prisons in tiny Buckingham County, Virginia that in June gave it one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S.
Organizations in New York City have stepped in to help families with funeral costs and related matters in communities hit hard by the disease, but their money and resources are strained.
The frustrations of residents in the Powderhorn neighborhood, not far from where George Floyd was killed, have gotten some national coverage. But the homelessness crisis in the city isn’t new, and it could soon get worse.
Rachel M. Cohen
Geriatic prison with the most deaths in Texas has a years-long history of neglect, Kentucky corrections officials won’t say how many people they’ve tested for COVID-19, and an outbreak at a remote Oregon prison grows from 20 to 120 cases in less than a week, all as Gov. Kate Brown has refused calls to decarcerate the state’s prison system.
The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests over police brutality are strengthening the case against mass incarceration, advocates argue.
COVID-19 is disproportionately putting Black and Latinx people at higher risk of eviction, fueling a housing crisis that is already in progress.
Critics say California’s release plan is an inadequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state’s prison system, 42 percent of Louisiana prisoners tested for COVID-19 are positive, and conditions at Texas and Indiana prisons get the attention of lawmakers.
As a ‘heat dome’ descends on much of the country and local governments scramble to provide safe refuges, concern grows over the effect of a disease that has ‘totally demolished the homeless people.’
A new report finds that too many kids, particularly Black youth, continue to be held in dangerous juvenile detention facilities; California prison officials refused offers of free testing before and during San Quentin outbreak; and Gov. Gavin Newsom announces plans to release 8,000 incarcerated people.
In a moment of crisis, the state Senate and House are slated to be in recess until January.
New data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request paint a dire picture of New York City COVID-19 testing in its jails.
Seth J. Prins,
A new multimedia campaign seeks to amplify voices of people incarcerated in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Jail, a GEO Group stockholder sues the for-profit prison company over its ’woefully ineffective’ COVID-19 response, and widespread testing is turning up thousands of new infections.
Pressure mounts on California’s governor to release people from prison; people with months, even days, left on their sentence are dying in Texas prisons; and a new report finds higher rates of COVID-19 in prison than in the U.S. population.
Many city residents who’ve served time for sexual crimes have families who want them back, but a 19-year-old law keeps them away.
Florida media outlets had to sue to obtain information on COVID prison deaths; after preventable outbreaks, California replaces its prison medical director; and the Texas prison where Andrea Circle Bear died grapples with a new outbreak.
Predominantly Black neighborhoods have less access to primary care physicians and healthcare services, at a time when COVID-19 is killing Black Americans at a rate 2.3 times higher than white Americans. Now grassroots organizations are trying to compensate for failures of public health.
Advocates sue to get people out of ’deplorable’ Detroit jail, Oregon prisons see more COVID cases while governor stalls on commutations, and botched transfer depletes California’s prison fire camps.
Prioritizing bar examiners’ gatekeeping function during a pandemic and economic crisis means putting aspiring lawyers at risk and making it harder for nonwhite and low-income people to enter the legal profession.
Advocates say the pandemic has exacerbated the overdose crisis in the state by forcing people into isolation and impeding access to treatment.
San Quentin prisoners launch a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions; amid an outbreak, a for-profit healthcare provider refuses to test everyone in an Ohio jail; and cases are spiking at Washington state’s Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.
About 20 people in the prison’s Badger section have been on hunger strike for the past few days, three people incarcerated there say.
A California lawmaker describes the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s handling of San Quentin outbreak as “abhorrent,” private prison giant CoreCivic turns a profit amid a pandemic and an inspection of a Tennessee jail turns up “inadequate and harmful” conditions.
A survey published by the National Domestic Workers Alliance in April found that 55 percent of respondents were unable to pay April’s rent, and 84 percent were either not able to or didn’t know if they could afford food.
COVID continues to tear through San Quentin and another botched CDCR transfer results in an outbreak; cases continue to climb in jails and a prisoner at Sing Sing describes prison life amid a pandemic.
Judge Paul Bonin improperly required people who appeared in his courtroom to purchase ankle monitors from a private company run by one of his former law partners, a lawsuit says.
The nation has an opportunity to take advantage of this transformative event and pursue an alternative to the current system.
David A. Love
In Cook County, Illinois, suspected or confirmed fatal overdose deaths doubled over last year in the first five months of this year.
From grocery store workers to nurses, from home care workers to janitors, from teachers to delivery workers to domestic workers -- there is an invisible, undervalued army of people who make our lives possible. Their work is essential, and it always has been.
A new report gives all 50 states failing grades on how they’ve handled COVID-19 in correctional facilities, infections continue to creep into jails and the Palm Beach post takes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to task for his coronavirus failures.
Workers report facing a difficult choice between earning a living and feeling safe and healthy at their job.
Prosecutors wanted to make an example of Justin Dixon, who has been in an Arizona prison for 14 years, with 37 ahead of him. Now, as COVID-19 spreads in the facility where he’s being held, his family is desperate for him to be released.
Sacramento jail deputies agree to start wearing masks, the state agency that oversees California jails won't collect COVID-19 data, a lockdown failed to stop infections in a women’s jail, and cases continue to increase at San Quentin.
Citing the pandemic, state legislators asked all agencies to trim their budgets. The cuts could eliminate positions for public defenders who can show a trial or sentence was unjust, overturn convictions, or reduce a person’s time.
Legal, medical, and religious groups warn in a new report that the widespread use of solitary confinement in response to COVID-19 risks spreading the disease further and undoing a decade of progress.
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus—a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. Every day, The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
The accounts by prisoners in Cummins Unit contradict messaging from the state Department of Corrections, which says it has taken aggressive steps to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Essential workers say curfews put them at risk of police violence, even though they were exempt.
As the country reopens, we can’t quickly forget these failures of government, which have disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, and Native people.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has asked for the budget increase amid ongoing local and national reports of police violence against protesters.
James ‘Bumpy’ Bennett, who had twice survived cancer, was 71 and had served 48 years of his life without parole sentence.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Farmworker and labor advocates say these workers are among the most exploited in the country.
Madeline Leung Coleman
The country’s homeless population was already struggling to access services during the pandemic.
‘This ruling is a particularly terrible blow because it comes at a time when people are taking to the streets en masse to protest state violence against Black people,’ said Nora Carroll, an attorney for Jalil Muntaqim, who has been imprisoned since 1971.
Public safety is not improved by stricter probation and parole rules, researchers have found.
Lauren Lee White
The detainees already completed their criminal sentences—but they are prevented from leaving for years. And with the coronavirus spreading, their lives are at risk.
Jordan Michael Smith
Advocates question why Chicago judges continued to order people to home detention instead of releasing them on their own recognizance.
Texas’s governor has proclaimed that ‘safe practices save lives,’ but prisoners say that advice can’t be followed in the state’s prisons, where unsanitary conditions have left the novel coronavirus ‘spreading vigorously.’
“My dad, he’s part of the vulnerable population. If I think about it, it becomes really, really, really scary. So to be completely honest, I’m trying not to think about it.”
Advocates had hoped Governor Tom Wolf would use his executive reprieve power to release thousands of people from prisons in the face of COVID-19.
Health officials say hand washing is key to avoiding the novel coronavirus, but millions of homeless people continue to have little or no access to hygiene stations.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office waited four years to charge Danielle Sutherland for one of the DUIs. After serving time for the others, she received treatment for her substance use issues and pursued a degree.
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus -- a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
The state’s public defender asked the state Supreme Court in April to speed up reviews of people held pretrial, but advocates say it’s unclear if district courts have complied.
New York attorneys have launched a campaign to release transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary prisoners during the pandemic.
The city is flouting CDC guidance by continuing to dismantle homeless encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic, though it does not have nearly enough shelter space.
Garbage collectors in the city are striking for $15 an hour, hazard pay, and PPE.
Many community development corporations assist not only tenants, but also a wider community of low-income people with a range of social services.
Both incarcerated brothers are at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19—and one has tested positive.
While 80 percent of state health departments are recording race as part of their COVID-19 statistics, around half are not including Natives and are simply labeling them as “other.”
A U.S. district court judge said the Michigan jail has demonstrated ‘deliberate indifference’ to the lives of ‘medically vulnerable’ prisoners who are at particular risk of the novel coronavirus.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Eraina Pretty has served 42 years in prison in connection with a 1978 store robbery. A new law that might have led to her release has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For weeks, two houses in Illinois’ Vienna Correctional Center ran on generator power and had intermittent failures, multiple prisoners told The Appeal. The outages made it harder to use the shared bathroom, one of the few places they could wash their hands.
Advocates say states aren’t doing enough to close the gaps in the federal stimulus bill.
The Courier Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Governor Matt Bevin’s commutations sensationalizes crime at the expense of future clemency efforts.
Zachary A. Siegel,
No Evil Foods created products like El Zapatista and Comrade Cluck, but workers say its conduct doesn’t live up to its leftist branding.
Coronavirus infections climb at the state’s only maximum-security facility for women, and those held there fear for their safety.
Lyra Walsh Fuchs
States must fund stable housing for all formerly incarcerated people to neutralize the spread of COVID-19 and create equitable opportunities for social reintegration.
Demar F. Lewis IV
A district court judge who issued a temporary restraining order in the case said jail officials had not ‘imposed even the most basic safety measures recommended by health experts.’
Expansion of an existing federal rental subsidy program, the Housing Choice Voucher, could stabilize housing for millions of households.
Alex F. Schwartz
Jeremy Hix is serving 70 months in federal prison for a sex offense—a conviction that disqualifies him for a Bureau of Prisons home confinement program, despite a health condition that puts him at risk of the coronavirus.
The family of Gloria Williams, who has served 50 years in prison, is now pressing Governor John Bel Edwards to commute her sentence 10 months after a parole board recommended she be freed.
John Wesley Parratt Jr. was scheduled to appear before the parole board in July. After the novel coronavirus arrived in San Quentin State Prison, he feared for his health.
Juan Moreno Haines
Governor Tate Reeves has touted the state’s testing efforts as ‘aggressive,’ but testing rates in the state’s prisons, where the coronavirus has already claimed at least one life, remain low.
‘This is by far, by far, the biggest impact on our people since our return from the Long Walk in 1868,’ a Navajo Nation leader said.
The Fed’s new Municipal Liquidity Facility can be a necessary financial lifeline to states facing a cash crunch -- but only if they use it properly and completely.
The plaintiffs want an independent expert to assess whether the facility has implemented social distancing measures, testing procedures, and hygiene practices adequate enough to reasonably protect detainees from contracting COVID-19 while in custody.
We did it in San Francisco. If we are smart about how we respond to COVID-19 in the criminal legal system, then we can simultaneously tackle two crises.
Cristine Soto DeBerry
Governor Kristi Noem’s threat to sue two South Dakota tribes shows the callousness of her coronavirus plan, which seems to encourage exposure and prioritize the economy over the lives of at-risk Natives.
An Erie County judge said the pregnant 20-year-old would be ‘safer’ in jail from the COVID-19 outbreak.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s releasing thousands of prisoners. But that doesn’t necessarily include some of the state’s sickest patients.
‘Our state and local officials have a responsibility to not endanger those who are under correctional control,’ the ACLU of Georgia’s executive director said.
Faculty members of the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Nursing wrote to the governor that sending patients there is “inhumane and ineffective.”
Criminal justice reform advocates question why the BOP plans to move people around rather than reduce prison populations.
Incarcerated people like John Brookins, who is serving life without the possibility of parole, will have to wait until June or later for a chance at clemency.
‘It’s not only poor people standing in food lines, or going to food pantries and soup kitchens. Now you have the middle class and businesses that are suffering, too,’ one organizer said.
Andrea Circle Bear was confined within FMC Carswell while suffering from the novel coronavirus. ‘She was serving a 26-month sentence that ended up being a death penalty,’ one maternity specialist said.
People incarcerated in the Otay Mesa Detention Center decry crowded units and substandard medical care as COVID-19 tears through the facility.
While adults in the county have been granted expedited release in groups, the juvenile court continues to review cases individually.
Attorneys for prisoners say the policy goes against public health warnings and will ‘promote and facilitate a viral outbreak.’
An appellate court says officials at Federal Correctional Institution, Elkton, must begin identifying prisoners vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
After a man incarcerated in a New Jersey state prison was hospitalized with COVID-19, he said he was handcuffed for 36 hours. The cuffs got tangled in his IV, causing it to rip out, he said. “It was so painful. You have no idea.”
Segregation not only increases individuals' exposure to the novel coronavirus, it also leaves them more susceptible to its effects and limits the quality of care they will receive, experts say.
Several states and the District of Columbia have postponed their bar exams because of the pandemic, creating a deadly delay for poor people in need of public defenders.
Emily M. Croucher
Tens of thousands of children are in congregate care settings around the country, and some have already started to get sick.
The onset of COVID-19—and the need for social distancing—gave an unexpected boost to efforts against plans for a new prison in Washington.
The pandemic is making it clear that it’s time to radically rethink the social contract.
Amy Castro Baker,
In Hillsborough County, Florida, the jail population is bloated by cash bail, fines, and fees, perpetuating health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political concerns are slowing efforts to depopulate prisons in the state, advocates say.
The federal government is not going to lead the way on addressing the economic pain caused by the shutdowns. But states have the power to do something about it now.
The state is sending virus-positive people to Angola prison—but those numbers aren’t reported on the Department of Corrections website.
Laid-off workers say they face insurmountable debt and homelessness if they have to pay back months of rent after the pandemic.
Prisoners feel like they are ‘sitting ducks,’ said a woman whose boyfriend is incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
As COVID-19 spreads, Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio are slashing budgets, but leaving funding for police and prisons largely untouched.
An overwhelming majority of Americans support the federal government paying all healthcare costs for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
Alison P. Galvani
The 2015 shooting left Keith Davis Jr. with respiratory issues. His defense attorney says that as he appeals his case he should be freed from prison.
Attorneys say the prosecution’s theory of the murder case was ‘concocted out of whole cloth’ and based on ‘outdated racial stereotyping.’
Prisoners say the jail, which has seen more than 800 confirmed cases, is a ‘death trap’ plagued by sanitary issues and a lack of testing. Their testimonies stand at stark odds with the sheriff’s office, which says it is keeping ‘staff and detainees as safe as possible.’
Faced with inaction on the part of state and corrections officials, incarcerated people in jails, prisons, and detention centers are protesting their treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
A woman detained by ICE was sick with COVID-19 for days before being removed from a 50-person jail dorm in York County, Pennsylvania, according to women housed with her.
There are certain universal human needs that any governing structure — from local to federal — is responsible for. Among these are housing, healthcare, education, public parks, clean water, and clean air — the things that make life beautiful. These needs touch every single living being and as such, are non-negotiable. They do not belong on the open market.
The Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of 650,000 so-called Dreamers across the country. Lawyers say terminating protections for them during a pandemic would be 'catastrophic.'
Elected officials need to stop making excuses for not getting unhoused people into hotel rooms.
Medical ethics experts have criticized the state’s prison officials and say masks to protect against COVID-19 should be distributed ‘with no strings attached.’
Governor John Bel Edwards has yet to commute Gloria Williams’s sentence despite a parole board’s unanimous recommendation that she be freed. Now she is in critical condition at a Baton Rouge hospital.
One prisoner says a man collapsed while waiting for a temperature check and was sprayed down with disinfectant as he lay on the floor. BOP denied it.
The Bureau of Prisons could send those without homes to alternative halfway houses far from D.C. or back to prison at the end of the month.
‘I would go to the hospital very often and they wouldn’t do anything for me.’
As millions file for unemployment, tenants are banding together to support their neighbors who can't pay the rent.
As the coronavirus crisis continues to expand, it is clear that America needs a robust assistance program for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and physically disabled, to ensure they have what they need to survive. The health, safety, and stability of all communities depend on it.
The state’s law enforcement agencies failed to implement a 2018 data-sharing law. Now officials are struggling to identify high-risk people to release from county jails.
The city has created the structural conditions that have engendered disproportionately high rates of infection and death among its Black and Latinx residents.
Darializa Avila Chevalier
The current coronavirus crisis underscores our urgent need to look hard at our pretrial justice system. Eliminating money bail is a necessary first step.
‘This is getting worse,’ one woman said. ‘People just want to sleep or fight. They play with our emotions constantly. This place is scary.’
Towns like Homer, Louisiana, have huge prisons, a tiny populace, and few public health resources—a potentially lethal combination as COVID-19 spreads.
Warehouse workers say time pressure leaves them unable to properly wash their hands, and have reported an increase in mandatory overtime, which creates crowded conditions.
People behind bars are too often forgotten and treated as expendable. We cannot afford to forget them. Our shared survival and shared humanity demand action.
‘It seems like Black people are still being criminalized and are not free,’ one organizer said.
Criminal justice advocates have called Camp J at the Louisiana State Penitentiary ‘a dungeon.’ Now it’s housing prisoners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Local budget cuts enacted a decade ago left states and cities dangerously unprepared for COVID-19. We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again.
Peter Lucas was jailed overnight at a time when prosecutors across the country are actively working to reduce the number of people behind bars to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Approximately 100 men will be transported to Draper Correctional Facility, which has long been known for its nightmarish conditions.
A man describes his ordeal in medical isolation while awaiting trial.
FCI Ray Brook was slow to respond to the spread of coronavirus among correctional officers. Now the outbreak has reached prisoners.
Governor Mike DeWine, critics say, ‘is risking turning low-level prison sentences into death sentences.’
With programming paused and prison jobs reduced, people inside will not be able to earn good-time credits and are cut off from a means of supporting themselves.
Despite distancing warnings, more than 80 state and federal agents fanned out in an anti-drug operation that, The Appeal has learned, was based on a series of retail-level drug sales.
Neither the coronavirus nor anything else is a ‘great equalizer’ because we aren’t, actually, all in this together.
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
His attorney says the Suffolk County DA’s office tried to send “an innocent man to his death.”
By letting people out now, we can avoid overwhelming our healthcare system with sick prisoners later.
For many people across the U.S. who need methadone treatment, sheltering in place during the coronavirus outbreak is impossible.
Taking emergency measures to protect homeless people from the pandemic is simply common sense.
Advocates say the “progressive” city has left them to die.
The families and partners of those incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale are sharing information and support as COVID-19 hits the prison.
Recent successes in stemming the opioid crisis could be reversed if public health budgets are cut or the crisis is seen as secondary to the pandemic.
Voters want the government to take common sense measures that meet the scale of the crisis and preserve the economy so that when the coronavirus is contained, economic life can resume as rapidly as possible. It's time for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to listen.
New polling finds strong bipartisan support for recurring government payments to Americans, rather than a one-time payment.
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
A Brooklyn teacher tried three times to get treatment for the coronavirus. Now she’s fighting for her life.
Erin Clare Brown
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
'We are still packed in like sardines,' writes Fate Winslow, who's serving a life sentence. 'The prison doesn't supply anything for us.'
Sharon Fahy, whose daughter was murdered in 1988, asked the court to release Walter Ogrod, the man convicted in her killing.
People are dying in jails and prisons because elected officials hesitated at the worst possible moment.
Michigan was one of several states requiring registrants to report to local police stations in person despite the risk to public health from coronavirus.
Louisville, Kentucky judges are ordering people with COVID-19 who have allegedly defied quarantine to wear GPS ankle monitors, raising ethical questions about the government's role in a pandemic.
Twenty-eight people were to attend weeks-long drug treatment programs after violating parole. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly trapped them in jail indefinitely.
On the intersection of two public health crises: housing and COVID-19.
Public defenders are working with the courts to secure release for people incarcerated in the Florida county, many of whom are jailed for low-level offenses.
They make roughly half the average national income, and they’re at risk of COVID-19 exposure as they continue to work to ensure shelves are restocked and communities fed.
Experts are urging large-scale releases. But the Department of Justice often operates contrary to expertise.
'They're not supplying us with masks, they’re not supplying us gloves, they're not supplying us with decent cleaning supplies.'
Despite risks to incarcerated people and the public, Florida is sending prisoners to perform hard labor.
'We literally held an election during a pandemic.'
In Alabama and elsewhere, canceled hearings and new procedures are complicating the parole process for people hoping to be freed.
It took a prisoner’s death ‘just for them to pass out a single extra bar of soap,’ one incarcerated man said.
As infections and deaths mount, state leaders and law enforcement are turning to tough-on-crime tactics in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In Austin and across the country, service providers are dealing with spikes in demand, new logistical challenges, and mounting uncertainty about the months ahead.
Bail will be set at $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felony offenses.
The state, which accounts for roughly one-third of all positive COVID-19 cases in the country, is facing a rapid spread of the disease in its jail and prison systems.
The emergency program seeks to release a select group of prisoners but does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, experts and Democratic lawmakers say.
Incarcerated people, corrections officers, and their families and communities are bound together by the threat of a deadly and fast-moving disease. The sooner we recognize this, and take decisive action, the more lives we will save.
Lawyers, judges, and advocates for migrant children wonder what it will take to close all 69 immigration courts. ‘I hope that it won’t take a death, but I worry that it will,’ one lawyer said.
Inconsistent rules nationwide mean some people are still registering and reporting in person despite public health directives meant to control COVID-19.
Men in Unit B-2 at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility say staff members have harassed and abused them since they possibly came into contact with an infected officer.
Los Angeles County judges must move quickly to release a broad group of people in custody.
Telecommunications companies that serve prisons and jails, like Securus Technologies and Global Tel Link, are offering a limited number of free calls, but families say it’s not enough.
Conservative lawmakers are using emergency measures to restrict access to care.
As the novel coronavirus spread in the state, a Solano County judge denied numerous motions to continue a troubled double kidnapping and rape case marred by allegations that a Vallejo police detective withheld exculpatory evidence.
Public defenders in Fairfax County say their clients are being sent into harm’s way.
Delaying trials will mean more people stay in jail while a life-threatening disease spreads throughout the state.
Kyle C. Barry
With COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the state, there’s heightened concern that the conditions inside Lowell Correctional Institution, coupled with the prison’s sizable elderly and pregnant population, could foster a deadly outbreak.
ICE has adopted no policies aimed at releasing any of the 38,000 people it keeps in county jails and private detention centers across the country.
There are no good reasons for the president to keep vulnerable people behind bars any longer.
Residents have been told to stay in their homes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus—but little has been done to ensure they can afford to stay there, activists say.
The Office of General Counsel determined that the governor could likely use reprieves to release vulnerable people from prison to control COVID-19’s spread, but the office is advising against it, according to internal emails obtained by The Appeal.
‘It is progressively getting worse, exponentially worse,’ a resident of one halfway house told The Appeal as part of a survey of facilities. ‘Something is going to happen and it’s not going to be good.’
There’s still a chance to make sure some of the most vulnerable people can benefit from the federal stimulus bill.
We can’t allow “violent criminal” rhetoric to justify leaving some of the most vulnerable people in dangerous conditions.
People held in Bristol County are ‘extremely agitated and panicking’ due to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Sara Van Horn
‘Continuing to maintain these youths in this hotbed of contagion poses an unconscionable and entirely preventable risk of harm,’ one lawsuit states.
Decisive action by governors and the President now can save lives -- of incarcerated people, correctional and medical personnel, and nearby community members. Business as usual will not.
Prisoners are “especially vulnerable to contracting and spreading COVID-19,” Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker wrote in his executive order.
The COVID-19 crisis is shining a light on America’s worsening housing crisis and limited resources for response.
“They are treating it like any epidemic in prison—that is to isolate, treat and then release back to the population.”
State governors and the president have the authority to grant commutations and reprieves to people in prison across the country as COVID-19 spreads.
Social distancing orders are a necessity, but they create a host of new problems for people in treatment for substance use disorders.
Many programs for people on parole, probation, or supervision take place in group settings—the exact opposite of what public health officials are recommending in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Advocates for the area’s homeless residents say the pandemic will worsen the crisis they have already been living through.
“Based on this analysis, New York City jails have become the epicenter of COVID-19,” a Legal Aid attorney said.
“The doctors said they were going to come and do screenings every day, but for the past two days, they’ve just come into the dorm and stood by the front door and yelled, ‘Does anybody have any symptoms?’”
Politicians and the general public are ignoring the health and safety needs of those with disabilities and chronic conditions.
“Still no hand sanitizer, no bleach.”
The island’s Communicable Disease Unit is already overflowing with quarantined people.
New research shows that jails contribute to infectious disease deaths in the greater community.
Seth J. Prins
In Boston, it’s worse than business as usual at the police department as the pandemic spreads. On a recent day, officers arrested people for charges the district attorney has publicly declined to prosecute.
Up to 1,000 people will have their sentences delayed or suspended.
The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies are intersecting with a highly contagious disease at a time when cities across the country are shutting down.
When the dust settles on this pandemic, we need to be clear on what was an emergency response and what is a desirable permanent change.
Advocates have called on Governor Tom Wolf and state Department of Corrections officials to release elderly and infirm people from state prisons. But the law is limiting how quickly they can move.
The H1N1 pandemic, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and other outbreaks have taught us that blanket policies of solitary confinement and isolation have led to harmful outcomes.
One of America’s largest police forces says it’s drastically reducing the number of people it arrests during the coronavirus pandemic.
The state Department of Corrections confirmed two staff cases of COVID-19. No prisoners have been confirmed to have the virus, the department said.
While those facing charges appear by video at arraignments, all others—attorneys, officers, the judge—are in the courtroom in close quarters, defense attorneys say.
Prosecutors say Walter Ogrod is ‘likely innocent’ of the charges that sent him to prison in 1996. Now, his attorney says, ‘every day a decision and/or hearing is delayed is another day that Mr. Ogrod’s health is at grave risk.’
But the proposals on the table are leaving our most vulnerable neighbors behind.
Late Wednesday, the chief physician at the Rikers jail complex said on Twitter that judges and prosecutors must not leave New York City's jailed population ‘in harm’s way.’
Conditions at the Newark jail where the strike is taking place were dire even before the threat of COVID-19.
Cascading crises have significantly increased the stakes for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
It should not take a global pandemic for our elected officials to acknowledge that we are all safer if everyone can shower and wash their hands.
In Northampton County, advocates say the practice is putting the people charged for minor offenses, and the broader community, in danger.
How California, which is home to more than half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population, is addressing the needs of the unhoused.
As COVID-19 spreads, ICE detained a Central American immigrant in a hospital, causing confusion and raising concerns.
A man with multiple medical conditions incarcerated on a technical violation urgently needs to be released, his attorney says.
Sheriffs wield enormous power, and they can direct it in ways that will help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect incarcerated people.
The Metropolitan Police Department has discussed reducing arrests, but it has not formally announced any policy changes.
At a time when it’s vital to reduce jail and prison populations to prevent outbreaks, this data can help advocates identify areas where that is or is not happening.
In a joint statement, they emphasized the need to reduce the number of people currently incarcerated in order to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.
To prevent more people from being infected with COVID-19, defense attorneys are calling for courts to release people.
John Hummel was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday. The court, citing the current health crisis, has postponed the execution for 60 days.
Activists are calling on the governor, district attorneys, sheriffs, and judges to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The individual had no contact with people in custody for at least the past month, according to the DOC.
Experts say evictions cause a ‘downward spiral’ of health problems for renters, and that housing security is necessary to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Judicial responses to the pandemic have varied and are changing rapidly.
Local jails are notorious amplifiers of infectious diseases. If we don’t move quickly to reduce their population, it may undermine our ability to control the new coronavirus, nationally and locally.
Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced the state would employ prisoners to make hand sanitizer, must prepare for the particular vulnerabilities of the state’s prison population to COVID-19, advocates say.
The public defender and district attorney both directed their staffs to keep individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus out of jail.
More than 100 people signed an open letter to Eric Holcomb requesting that he begin releasing people most likely to be seriously harmed or killed by the coronavirus.