Justice Organizations Call on California Gov. Newsom to Act Now To Reduce State Prison COVID-19 Risks

A coalition of more than 20 California justice organizations sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, imploring him to take immediate steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons and the surrounding communities.

From the letter:

To the Honorable Gavin Newsom, Governor of the State of California:

We are calling on you to act immediately to protect the lives of the people impacted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), including people in custody, staff at CDCR, and the family members and communities of staff and those who are incarcerated. At this time, with the coronavirus threatening the health and lives of untold numbers of people under your care and control, a current prison sentence in California could turn into a death sentence for many.

Under California Government Code section 8550, the Emergency Services Act, you have the power to immediately release people from prisons and thus work to mitigate the spread of this disease. In 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenneggar used these powers to immediately reduce prison overcrowding in California. You must now use this same power to save lives.

Read the full letter here.