During COVID-19, prisons, jails, and detention centers have turned into outbreak zones for incarcerated people, and Black people represent 33% of the sentenced prison population. In New York’s Riker’s Island prison complex, 287 incarcerated people and 406 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, exposing the entire community to the deadly virus for which there is no known vaccine. Although the federal government is considering releasing people from prison, only a small percentage of Black incarcerated people would be deemed "low-risk" enough to get out using the federal prison system’s risk assessment tool. During this panel, hear about the unique life and death challenges people in prisons, jails, and detention centers face during this unprecedented pandemic, and how the virus will impact Black incarcerated people now and after we flatten the curve. We will also discuss solutions for how to use this experience to advocate for new approaches to accountability.
This panel is being organized by the Movement for Black Lives as part of a series of national calls to Build Beloved Community During and Beyond COVID-19.