LPP RESPONSE: COVID-19
Urge the President and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on our incarcerated communities.
Our founder, Steve DeAngelo, outlines steps that correctional institutions should be taking to protect our nation's incarcerated population from Covid-19. Mass incarceration has left prisons and jails highly susceptible to an outbreak given overcrowding, lack of resources, and little access to medical care. To address this situation public officials need to take steps to reduce overcrowding and ensure access to medical care including:
Identifying people who are scheduled to be released from prison or jail in the next six months and release them into home confinement.
Parole prisoners over the age of 65, with priority given to those who have underlying health conditions that make them particularly susceptible to the virus.
Individuals who have successfully completed at least three years of supervision should be transferred to administrative supervision or have their supervision terminated altogether.
Suspend copays for medical visits made by incarcerated persons. It is cruel and unusual punishment to deny access to lifesaving medical care to incarcerated individuals simply because they can't afford it. This is particularly unjust when considering prisoners often work for less than a dollar a day, including those making hand sanitizer for the state of New York.
Correctional facilities across the country are implementing lockdowns and suspending visitation. We must ensure FREE access to smart visitations and phone calls for all incarcerated individuals.
RELEASE ALL CANNABIS PRISONERS. No one incarcerated for a victimless cannabis offense should continue to be incarcerated today. Now is the time to free our cannabis prisoners and further reduce the risk of outbreaks in correctional facilities.
UPDATES FROM THE INSIDE
"It's starting to get real in here. Took everyone's temps yesterday. An fed inmate at the facility in about 100 miles south of here tested positive. We're officially on a Covid lockdown."
"I was hoping to transfer back to California and I actually received the "pack-out slip" putting me on the next bus Friday afternoon just a few hour before the BOP issued their "Covid-19 preventative measures" cancelling all transfers. They've cancelled all visits as well. I was transferring to a lesser security for the first time in my prison term so I'm pretty disheartened by the whole thing. They are talking about potentially locking us down or putting us on a modified lockdown where we are out of the cell for a few hours a day. The good thing is that they are increasing our phone minutes from 300 to 500 a month. But BOP does not offer free phone calls. They cost $3.15 for 15 minutes. I'm told they are going to re-evaluate the situation in 30 days but I don't see the pandemic getting better in a month. I actually see it getting much worse before it gets better."
- LUKE SCARMAZZO
Serving 22 years for operating a legal cannabis dispensary
"I am at FCI Terre Haute, and to their credit, they are trying to protect the population from the coronavirus. Of course, as a government agency, they have some miscues, like making us stand in slow moving lines, but overall they are trying. We are not on lockdown, but if we were, we could make no phone
calls. (we would be locked in cells and unable to access a phone) One thing they have done, is waived the $2 medical co-pay for checks or treatment of the virus. I think that is to keep from discouraging someone from getting checked to avert paying the $2. I am quick to condemn bad moves by the FBOP, but although not perfect, they really are trying to protect the population. Finally, thank you for your support! Its nice to know that we have not been forgotten!!"
Serving LIFE without parole for cannabis
"There is an officer here with symptoms presumed positive. We had a forum today with the warden who told us 80% of us would contract the virus. A lot of the people here have health conditions. We are out of hand soap. We are out of hand sanitizer. We are out of cleaning products. We are out of toilet paper. They are lying to us and giving us hand sanitizer that they say is effective but has 0% alcohol. They have no procedures in place to mitigate an outbreak here. "
Federal Cannabis Prisoner
"What we all feared has begun to take place. We've been ordered into our cells. We are to remain on lock-down status until further notice. That was the written statement conveyed unto us this morning by the prison staff. Prison staff who is not wearing any masks or protective gear to prevent the spreading of the virus.
It's ironic to experience this pandemic under the extreme duress of confinement. For the simple fact, that we, as prisoners, are not allowed to socialize with one another, nor with anyone in the free world, in order to minimize the contraction of the virus; nevertheless, the same prison staff who are coming into the prison from the free world have begun to prepare and serve our meals, handle our medication, handle our mail, etc, maximizing the potential of anyone of us contracting the virus from a staff member. As it recently happened at FCI-Oakdale, Louisiana, killing off one inmate. In a way we are all sitting ducks.
I don't know if President Trump and his task force are aware of this. Although, the President has passed the Cares Act, which include federal inmates, we cannot take advantage of it, due to its bureaucratic process; for if one was to request an immediate release, due to the high morbidity covid-19 risk factors, it would take up to several months to complete.
In reality, we are at the mercy of our captors. If any one of us contract the virus, he is isolated along with his cell-mate in an 8 by 12 prison cell without adequate medical attention. The 22 years I have served so far behind prison walls, would not compare to the agony of dying alone in such a horrid place of hopelessness. Pray for me. Pray for those who are with me. That's pretty much all that can be done at this time.
- EDWIN RUBIS
Serving to 40 years for cannabis
"There was a guard working in the kitchen that was sent home because they may possibly have the coronavirus. Her husband had it, and they didn't want to take any chances passing it on. An inmate was taken out of here a few nights ago. He was really ill, but we are not sure what was the cause of his sickness. He slept a few beds down from me, so yes I am scared. All the guards here a wearing mask, but they are not providing masks for us. The kitchen is so nasty that I try not to go and eat in there, but I do have to go to survive. "
- FATE WINSLOW
Serving LIFE for selling $20 of cannabis
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
RELIEF AID TO PRISONERS IN NEED
This is an incredibly difficult time for our incarcerated constituents. Some correctional facilities have waived medical copays, but many have not. That means while the general public has free access to testing, one of our most vulnerable populations does not.
Additionally, many facilities are not allowing visitors. To make up for this they have extended monthly allotted minutes for phone/video calls. Most facilities, however, are still charging for phone calls and smart visitations. You can imagine how difficult it is for our constituents to not be able to communicate with their families during this pandemic.
LPP has guaranteed all of our constituents that if they need additional commissary funds to pay for medical visits or treatments, or additional funds to connect with family and loved ones, we will supply them. If you know of a cannabis prisoner in need of assistance at this time please contact us.
Now is the time to come together as a community to support our most vulnerable populations. If you are financially able please consider donating today to ensure that our constituents have the funds they need to access medical care and connections to loved ones.
CONTACT YOUR LAWMAKERS
CALL YOUR LOCAL OFFICIALS AND URGE THEM TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO PROTECT OUR INCARCERATED COMMUNITY FROM CORONAVIRUS
Locate your governor's office here.
Locate your state's Department of Corrections here.
Get up to date information on your local correctional facilities' response to the pandemic here and then use the appropriate sample scripts based on the response.
SAMPLE SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the [Governor or DOC Commissioner] engage in immediate decarceration and other emergency measures to protect the lives of incarcerated people in our state. There is no question that COVID-19 will spread rapidly on the inside. Health experts have made it clear that everyone is at risk, so everyone incarcerated needs to be freed right now. Because of confinement and the punishing and inhumane conditions incarcerated people are forced into, they are put at the highest risk for COVID-19. They cannot safely self-isolate and cannot access needed medical care.
Your office can take steps to decarcerate by paroling all incarcerated individuals over the age of 65 or at risk inmates, as well as any individual incarcerated on a nonviolent marijuana offense. No one incarcerated for a victimless cannabis offense should continue to be incarcerated today. Now is the time to free our cannabis prisoners and further reduce the risk of outbreaks in correctional facilities. The only acceptable response to COVID-19 is decarceration."
If your local correctional facilities have suspended visitation but not provided free phone calls or smart visitations add this sample script:
"Your office recently took the step of [suspending/restricting] in-person visitation at [jail name] to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While there is no question that in-person visitation can be risky at this time, incarcerated people and their families must be able to communicate in order to endure this trying, confusing, and constantly evolving pandemic.
I am calling to request your leadership in protecting incarcerated people and their loved ones by providing phone and video calls free of cost for at least thirty days – as sheriffs have done in the past on special occasions, such as Christmas, and as has been recommended by prosecutors nationwide."
If your local correctional facilities have not waived medical co-pays add this sample script:
"Your office has not yet taken steps, as many jurisdictions have, to suspend medical copays during the coronavirus pandemic. This is a critical step that your office MUST take in order to ensure incarcerated individuals are able to access medical care and testing and to mitigate an outbreak. It is cruel and unusual punishment to deny access to lifesaving medical care to incarcerated individuals simply because they can't afford it."
SIGN OUR PETITION urging the President and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on our incarcerated communities.