Pathway to a New Normal: COVID-19 and the Opportunity for Prosecutors to Shrink the Justice System
In this video, elected prosecutors discuss the human toll of COVID-19, the responsibility of elected prosecutors to mitigate the crisis, and the need to create a new normal with strategies that shrink the justice system and depopulate prisons and jails, while continuing to promote safe and healthy communities.
SF DA Chesa Boudin on COVID-19 and Mass Incarceration
In this FJP video, San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin explains how COVID-19 and mass incarceration have intersected to create a public health crisis threatening the lives of millions of people behind bars in the United States. Citing how San Francisco has lowered its jail population by 40% since January 2020, Boudin urges DAs to take bold and decisive action now to protect the health and wellbeing of their entire community.
“As the district attorney, my primary concern is public safety. This particular moment of the COVID-19 pandemic has made clearer than ever the ways in which mass incarceration actually undermines public safety.”
– SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHESA BOUDIN
Lessons Learned from Germany on Decarceration
The United States is an international outlier with the highest incarceration rate in the world. And COVID-19 is rapidly spreading through our crowded jails and prisons – threatening to infect thousands both behind bars and in the community. Mass incarceration and the current pandemic have intersected to create a deadly crisis, underscoring the need to reexamine past punitive approaches and chart a new path forward. In this FJP video, Attorney General Karl Racine, District Attorneys Mark Gonzalez and Rachael Rollins, and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby discuss what they learned from Germany, where incarceration is the last resort and upholding human dignity is a core value of the justice system.
Mr. President, let vulnerable people out of federal prisons now: Coronavirus demands a bold response
In this New York Daily News op-ed, Roy L. Austin, Jr., Vanita Gupta and FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky call on President Trump to use his commutation power to remove vulnerable individuals from harm’s way.
“People in our federal prisons aren’t disposable. Leaving thousands of elderly and medically vulnerable people behind bars fearing for their lives isn’t justice; it’s inhumane. We all lose, Mr. President, if this is our response.”
COVID-19’s Threat to Millions of Incarcerated People Must Be Addressed
In this Salon op-ed, Portsmouth, VA Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky discuss why individuals behind bars are so vulnerable during this public health crisis and the common sense reforms that can be implemented – and should be championed by elected prosecutors – to ensure the health and safety of the entire community.
“It is in times such as these that our moral compass is tested; let us hope – for the health and safety of our entire community – that we pass that test.”
How San Francisco’s D.A. Is Decreasing The Jail Population Amid COVID-19
In this interview on Fresh Air, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin talks about his efforts toward rapid decarceration in the wake of COVID-19, the need for reform, and his personal connection to this issue.
“As district attorney, public safety is my primary responsibility. And right now we recognize that the single biggest threat to public safety in San Francisco, as across the globe, is COVID-19.”
– SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHESA BOUDIN
Larry Hogan can lead by addressing COVID-19 in prisons and jails
In this Washington Post op-ed, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Carolyn Sufrin, a medical anthropologist and obstetrician/gynecologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Chris Beyrer, the Desmond M. Tutu Professor of Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to take rapid action to address the growing threat of COVID-19 in correctional facilities.
“The governor needs to move quickly to decrease population of prisons and jails, and he can do so in a way that protects public safety. Indeed, he can enhance it, as public safety includes protection from this virus.”
Andrew Cuomo, Stop a Coronavirus Disaster: Release People From Prison
In this New York Times op-ed, New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, called for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to release as many people as possible from New York’s correctional facilities, and to ensure they have the medical and re-entry help they need when they return home.
“If we don’t act fast, we jeopardize the lives of many. Worse yet, we risk creating a uniquely deadly incubator for the virus.”
Works of Justice 101 – Temperature Check: COVID-19 Behind Bars
In this podcast, PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program intern Kate Cammell spoke with Fair and Just Prosecution’s Executive Director Miriam Krinsky and Research and Policy Associate Scarlet Neath about how prosecutors are addressing the rights and needs of those in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to realize that public safety also includes healthy communities and if we continue to perpetuate this overincarceration epidemic we’re going to allow the pandemic to take hold.”
Our King County justice system is taking innovative steps in response to coronavirus
In this Seattle Times op-ed, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg describes efforts to safely release 500 medically vulnerable individuals from jail, with the support of an innovative housing program.
“We are a long way from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the innovative steps our King County justice system is taking in response can propel us into a more modern era of criminal justice – all while maintaining public safety. That, we believe, is doing justice.”
– KING COUNTY (SEATTLE) PROSECUTING ATTORNEY DAN SATTERBERG