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As Covid rages, Decarcerate NOW continues protests outside ACI

“Every day we hear from incarcerated people and their loved ones how poorly this outbreak is being handled and how terrified they are,” writes Decarcerate NOW.

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Nearly 1400 incarcerated people have contracted COVID-19 at the Adult Correction Institutions (ACI). Two have passed away. On Sunday a dozen people drove through the ACI, stopping occasionally to honk horns and to support those incarcerated with megaphones.

Organized by Decarcerate NOW, the plan is to continue such protests every Sunday for the “next couple months to make some noise and show our loved ones they are not alone.”

“Every day we hear from incarcerated people and their loved ones how poorly this outbreak is being handled and how terrified they are,” writes Decarcerate NOW.

Protesters demand:

  1. Halt arrests and grant personal recognizance to limit the number of people indefinitely trapped in Intake waiting for court hearings and trials.
  2. Reduce the prison population to control the spread of disease. Restore lost good time. Expedite parole hearings and release all eligible individuals. Utilize medical parole for all terminally ill, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. Release all other eligible individuals into community confinement.
  3. Recognize the entire incarcerated population as a priority community (Phase 1) for the COVID-19 vaccination, with an informed consent and opt-out process.
  4. Provide our loved ones with adequate PPE (masks, soap, hand sanitizer) as recommended by the CDC.
  5. Regularly administer universal testing across the population, including asymptomatic people.
  6. Provide transparency and accountability to incarcerated people’s families. Publicly release a formal process for family members to report noncompliance. Report daily COVID-19 numbers on the RIDOC website and social media, with the same level of documentation and transparency as that provided around every other Rhode Island population.

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com