Our voices are making a difference, but we must keep the pressure on. Dozens of incarcerated people have already tested positive for COVID-19 across the nation.  Let's be clear: Prisons are unable to implement the CDC guidelines needed to flatten the cure and save lives.  We must have a plan to decarcerate as much as possible. 
So far, a few governors have begun small plans to release a few thousand vulnerable people from prisons, jails, or detention centers. But, with 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, including more than 600,000 who are in pre-trial detention, we must do more and move quickly!!
We are in a crisis on multiple fronts right now -- and we need you, and your voice, now more than ever. One such crisis that’s now at a breaking point with COVID-19 is our mass incarceration rate — the highest in the world -- and crowded detention facilities in which we have totally inadequate health protections. This puts moms, dads, families, children, communities, and workers at undue risk.
There’s no time to waste. News reports are already showing this is an emergency. Tell governors, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, mayors, and sheriffs not to leave anyone behind and take immediate COVID-19 action at prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers.
This is no small crisis. Every year in America, millions of children experience the trauma of being separated from their parents due to mass incarceration, which has 2.3 million people behind bars. In fact, on any given day, 600,000 people are held pretrial in jails mostly because they don’t have enough money to be home with their families. [1,2] This criminalization of poverty further hurts families economically, emotionally, and physically. Moreover, 38,000 people are currently being held in ICE detention centers. 
The spread of COVID-19 is a national emergency that threatens potentially millions of lives. While everyone is at risk, we have a moral obligation to ensure that our most vulnerable—the elderly, the sick, those without medical care, and those unable to protect themselves from the virus—get the help that they need.
The time to act is NOW! Tell governors, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, mayors, and sheriffs not to leave anyone behind and take immediate COVID-19 action at prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers.
Correctional facilities, including jails, and immigrant detention centers, represent the perfect breeding ground for COVID-19. Each day, people are booked into and released from jail facilities, while guards, vendors, and other jail staff cycle in and out.  This massive turnover is exacerbated by the fact that more than half of jailed people only remain incarcerated for a few days, resulting in a weekly turnover of 54% of jail populations. [5,6] Worse, the enclosed nature of jails, prisons, and immigrant detention facilities, as well as the difficulties of maintaining proper hygiene inside facilities, mean that COVID-19 will likely spread like wildfire once introduced. 
Many prisons and detention centers are overcrowded – some to the point of crisis. Access to clean water and showers is limited. Many people are forced to share a single bathroom. Hand sanitizer is often banned and, in many cases, handcuffs prevent people from covering their mouths when they cough.  Moreover, the prison population is more likely to have chronic health conditions that render them particularly vulnerable to both infection and serious medical complications. All of these conditions effectively create a virus tinderbox that threatens not only incarcerated individuals and correctional employees, but also their families and communities at large.
Mass incarceration must end! Tell the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, governors, mayors, and sheriffs not to leave anyone behind and take immediate COVID-19 action at prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers.
Before an outbreak occurs, people who do not pose a risk to public safety should be released from prisons, jails, and detention centers. People who test positive for COVID-19 should be immediately released to a medical care facility, away from the rest of the incarcerated population-- not held within the prison, jail, or detention center. The people who remain confined need access to adequate medical care and prevention supplies free of charge, and to be able to contact their loved ones.
MomsRising is sending a letter to every governor, ICE, and DHS with the following recommendations:
- Using all available powers, including the powers of clemency, furlough, parole and compassionate release, dramatically reduce the prison and/or jail populations. Release everyone who isn’t a risk to public safety.
- Working with local officials, advocate the maximum reduction in jail admissions.
- Working with local officials, advocate that local officials release the vast majority of individuals who are currently incarcerated in jails.
- For those individuals who are released on probation and parole, modify supervision practices so as to support family bonds and health-related exigencies.
- For those individuals who remain incarcerated, ensure proper hygiene and access to medical care.
- For those individuals who remain incarcerated, facilitate communications home.
- For everyone who has incurred debt and/or debt-related penalties, end the financial hardship associated with these debts and penalties.
- For immigrants in detention, we urge the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to take immediate action to suspend ALL immigration enforcement activities and operations --DHS must suspend deportations, immigration arrests, mass raids, detentions and enforcement in sensitive locations, provide Free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and services for ALL, regardless of immigration status, and guarantee safe conditions and provide healthcare, testing and support to protect those in detention and prisons.
Everyone is at risk, and we have a moral obligation to ensure that our most vulnerable--the elderly, the sick, those without medical care, and those unable to protect themselves from the virus--get the help that they need.
~ Monifa, Xochitl, Linda, Donna, Kristin, Gloria, Anita and the entire MomsRising / MamásConPoder team