COVID-19 Emergency Response: Local Jails

Local officials should take the following actions to to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 in jails and in the communities in which they are located: 

  • Release anyone charged with an offense that does not involve a serious physical safety risk to the community and stop jail churn by ending the practice of jailing those who don’t pose a serious safety risk. This includes technical violations of parole or probation regardless of the underlying offense. 
  • Release elderly persons unless there is clear evidence that release would present an unreasonable risk to the physical safety of the community.
  • Release populations that the CDC has classified as vulnerable (those with asthma, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes) unless there is clear evidence that release would present an unreasonable risk to the physical safety of the community. 
  • Release persons in the jail who are within 6 months of completing their sentence.
  • Provide soap, CDC-recommended hand sanitizer, medical care, comprehensive sanitation and cleaning of facilities and other safety measures as recommended by the CDC for those who remain incarcerated.
  • Eliminate medical co-pays.
  • Release to the public the existing plan and procedures in place to address COVID-19 within the jail.

Download the PDF: