WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Mississippi State Director Alesha Judkins issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Reeves’ failure to consider early release to protect incarcerated people from the spread of COVID-19:
“Governor Reeves’ refusal to release any people from Mississippi’s dangerous prisons safely to help prevent a wider coronavirus outbreak is terribly irresponsible and dangerous. The governor doesn’t need to look far to see how quickly COVID-19 has spread in facilities across the country, or the projected increase in illnesses and deaths. He is grossly misinformed if he thinks that his action of suspending visitation alone will prevent an outbreak; failing to reduce the number of people incarcerated in Mississippi will affect not only them, but could threaten the health of all individuals who cycle through prison doors, and the surrounding communities they return to every day.
“While Republican and Democratic governors across the country have heeded the call of public health officials and the Attorney General to release vulnerable people from prison, Governor Reeves continues to jeopardize the lives of every person in MDOC facilities due to his failure to act.”
FWD.us recently released a report estimating the impact of COVID-19 on Mississippi’s incarcerated population and prison employees using the COVID-19 Model for Incarceration created by Recidiviz, customized with Mississippi-specific data. Using this model, we estimate that the coronavirus will peak in Mississippi’s prisons in about a month if no action is taken to reduce the number of people behind bars.