NAACP says We Are Done Dying
May 28, 2020
As the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic, and incidents of hate and domestic terrorism are perpetuated leading to routine brutalization of African-Americans, the health and safety of our people are at an unparalleled risk. Senseless hate crimes and incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths spreading throughout the Black community display the continuance of systematic racism and privilege granted to white people in America. Our communities are experiencing the worst outcomes on all fronts. From every location reporting data in the nation, African Americans are being harmed-both in infections and fatalities-in higher percentages. The NAACP is focused on highlighting the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community and amplifying the consistent mistreatment of our communities long before there was a pandemic.
The opportunity to bring light to this and fight for equality during this uncertain time is crucial. We are done dying.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY
The high costs of corrections are an expense states cannot afford. Moreover, the conditions inside of most prisons have created breeding grounds for COVID-19 outbreaks. Safely reducing the prison population must be a priority now.
As Congress prepares the next stimulus, a portion of resources should be conditioned on implementing measures to de-incarcerate. Given the crisis, it is time for Congress to continue the work it started in the First Step Act and take the next step.
African Americans live with a greater burden of disease than whites, and as we're seeing more and more of our chronic conditions place us at increased risk for complications from COVID-19. The inequities within the U.S. healthcare system impact people of color disproportionately and lead to unequal access to services and poorer health outcomes, especially for African Americans.
The NAACP is calling for:
Expand the Home Confinement Pilot Program under the First Step Act to provide early release of elderly offenders. Section 602 of the FSA modified 18 U.S.C. Section 3621 (c)(1) authorizes the Bureau of Prisons to maximize home confinement when possible. Congress should extend the program to include the eligibility requirements below.
Expand Release/Reduction in sentence to provide early release of nonviolent offenders. Under 18 U.S.C. Section 4205 (g) and 18 U.S.C. Section 3582 (c)(1)(A) a reduction in sentence is permitted where particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing exist. The reduction in sentence reduces the minimum term of sentence to time served. Congress should declare COVID-19 a compelling circumstance for the purposes of this section and streamline the request process for eligible offenders.
Support our movement by sending a message to your Congressional representatives now. Visit http://www.naacp.org for more information.