In late March, Andrea Circle Bear, was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was sent to a federal prison in Texas, 800 miles away from her home. On April 1, Circle Bear gave birth while still incarcerated, but died just weeks later after she contracted COVID-19. She was just 30 years old, and serving a two-year sentence for a drug conviction.
People in jails and prisons are disproportionately losing their lives to COVID-19. Many of those who have died were behind bars for drug offenses. Although some steps have been taken to release people to fight the spread of the virus, hundreds of thousands more are still at-risk.
The COVID–19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act would incentivize state and local officials to reduce jail and prison populations, stop arrests, provide communities with re-entry support, and fund testing and treatment for COVID-19 to individuals in state correctional facilities.
Protecting everyone during this unprecedented health crisis requires prioritizing the health and safety of people who are incarcerated. While it's encouraging to see that thousands of people have already been released, it's not nearly enough to stop the spread of the virus.
We need this critical bill to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Add your name today to support the passage of the COVID-19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act and save lives.