Covid-19 has made its way into prisons and jails throughout the country, there already stories emerging about sick guards bringing the virus in and bureaucrats covering it up. Jails and prisons are prime breeding grounds for the virus because they provide no space for social distancing, and have no facilities to separate people who get sick. This is a problem everywhere, but especially in facilities that hold elders and the medically frail and immuno-compromised. In addition, most jails are filled with people that either (a) haven’t yet gone to trial so haven’t been convicted of a crime, or (b) are in holding for a parole violation, which more often than not isn’t a crime, but instead a rule infraction such as breaking curfew or smoking a joint. That means that people are possibly facing serious illness or death simply because they are too poor to post bail.
This is an acute problem in New York City’s Rikers Island Jail Complex. Rather than let people out, Mayor De Blasio is stalling and concocting plans to open new jails instead of compassionate release. I’ve been working with organizers at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice to create these graphics supporting the release of as many people as possible from Rikers Island. We need as many people as possible to email or tweet at the Mayor, tell him to Free Them Now!
To demand release of those awaiting trial, email: firstname.lastname@example.org – tweet @MayorNYC – #FreeThemNOW
To demand release of those on parol violations, tweet @NYGovCuomo – #LessIsMoreNY – #FreeThemNOW
Our good friends at Radix Media have also made some materials, these were set in woodtype by Nicholas Hurd!: