RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROTECTING INCARCERATED YOUTH AND ADULTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. prisons and jails face a public health catastrophe due to existing unsanitary and overcrowded conditions of confinement. Medical experts have called for reductions in incarceration levels to limit overcrowding and protect those individuals in custody who are at high risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. To help stem the spread of COVID-19, Congress must take immediate action to reduce the number of people detained by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Congress also should incentivize states and localities to reduce levels of youth and adult incarceration and detention in order to protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19. If Congress does not immediately respond to the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks at incarceration and detention facilities nationwide, it will face a humanitarian crisis that will impact families and communities across the nation and prevent the U.S. from fully overcoming the domestic COVID19 epidemic.
The Justice Roundtable, a national coalition of more than 100 organizations, urges Congress to act on the following recommendations in its third COVID-19 response package under development now.