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The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights recognizes its platform and the privilege to work with people who are often marginalized, profiled, incarcerated, and killed due to anti-Black racism.

The American legacy of racism has collectively brought us to our knees in the past three weeks as we grieve, denounce, and protest the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others across the nation lost to police violence. Black people are perpetually abused by the criminal justice system and we firmly acknowledge racism is at the heart of this abuse.

CPHHR affirms and renews our commitment to:
…Advocate for black lives.
…Recognize and address racism as a public health emergency.
…Demand healthcare as a human right.
…Work to reinstate the dignity of justice-involved people.

In solidarity,
Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights

Conversations on COVID: Flattening the curve in jails and prisons
Brown University, April 6, 2020
Taking no action, Rich says, will not only endanger thousands of lives among incarcerated populations, but poses a dire threat to everyone by further overtaxing health care systems. Last Friday, the Rhode Island Supreme Court cleared the way for 52 prisoners in the Ocean State, but Rich says that further action nationwide is required. “When these people get sick, they’re going to get sick all at once,” said Rich, who is a practicing infectious diseases specialist at the Miriam Hospital in Providence. “That means there’s likely to be a large spike in people coming from corrections to the surrounding health care facilities. We can ill afford to have local health care systems overrun by a wave of people coming from the correctional setting. The consequences of that are dire.”

“Flattening the Curve for Incarcerated Populations — Covid-19 in Jails and Prisons”
, April 2, 2020
To operationalize a response for incarcerated populations, three levels of preparedness need to be addressed: the virus should be delayed as much as possible from entering correctional settings; if it is already in circulation, it should be controlled; and jails and prisons should prepare to deal with a high burden of disease. The better the mitigation job done by legal, public health, and correctional health partnerships, the lighter the burden correctional facilities and their surrounding communities will bear. We have learned from other epidemics, such as the 1918 influenza pandemic, that nonpharmaceutical interventions are effective, but they have the greatest impact when implemented early.

Doctors warn of ‘tinderbox scenario’ if coronavirus spreads in ICE detention
, March 20, 2020
The department should consider releasing all immigrant detainees who don’t pose a risk to public safety, the doctors argue, before it’s too late. There’s an “imminent risk to the health and safety of immigrant detainees” and to the general public if the novel coronavirus spreads in ICE detention, Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Josiah Rich wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers Friday. The doctors, contracted experts for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, say they’re “gravely concerned” about the risks the novel coronavirus poses.

“We must release prisoners to lessen the spread of coronavirus”
Washington Post
, March 18, 2020
Center Co-Founders and Executive Director on the public health crisis of coronavirus reaching prisons: “It is essential to understand that, despite being physically secure, jails and prisons are not isolated from the community. People continuously enter and leave, including multiple shifts of corrections staff; newly arrested, charged and sentenced individuals; attorneys; and visitors. Even if this flow is limited to the extent possible, correctional facilities remain densely populated and poorly designed to prevent the inevitable rapid and widespread dissemination of this virus.