So grateful Nikkita came on to chat with us again. On this episode she discussed what’s going on in the jails and prisons, especially pertaining to COVID-19. See below for a breakdown by Nikkita and if you have a minute I highly suggest watching the video. Thank you again for sharing your time and knowledge with us Nikkita!
This is a hard topic to discuss. The US incarcerates more people than any other nation. Nearly 50% of those in incarcerated are Black, while Black communities are only about 14% of the overall population.
Currently across the US, Black communities are experiencing higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19. This is directly related to racial and economic inequality and inequity in our healthcare systems and economic structures.
The risk that COVID-19 poses to incarcerated peoples is well-documented. Overcrowding, lack of access to hygiene, and substandard health care make jails and prisons potential time bombs for any outbreak, let alone the deadly coronavirus.
According to the ACLU we can save as many as 23,000 people in jail and 76,000 in the broader community if we stop arrests for all but the most serious offenses and double the rate of release for those already detained.
We can flatten the infection curve and decrease infection rates for all of us if we reduce the number of people we incarcerate. It’s easier than it may seem. Hundreds of thousands of people are sitting in jail simply because of technical violations, their inability to pay fines and fees, or because they can’t post bail. There is no reason these people should be locked up even under normal circumstances. During the pandemic, the need for reform is more urgent than ever.