What: A car rally to demand immediate action from the Governor’s office, DOC, DOH and the AG on the COVID outbreak in the ACI.

When: Friday, December 18th at 12:30 pm, during the Governor’s press conference

Where: Circling Rhode Island State House

Formerly incarcerated people, families of incarcerated people, and accomplices are rallying in cars circling the Rhode Island State House during Governor Gina Raimondo’s weekly Covid-19 briefing on December 18th 2020 at 12:30 pm in solidarity with those currently incarcerated in Rhode Island prisons and their loved ones facing the direct impact of the devastating, deadly, and completely preventable coronavirus outbreaks in corrections facilities throughout Rhode Island. 

The car rally planned for Friday is the latest attempt in a 9 month campaign and effort to get the administration to take action, and is being organized by Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE)’s Behind the Walls Committee, a committee made up of formerly incarcerated people and the loved ones of incarcerated people; Black and Pink; Formerly Incarcerated Union; Never Again Action Rhode Island, and community members as part of the RI COVID Response: Decarcerate NOW campaign. 

Organizers are demanding that immediate action be taken to:

  1. Halt arrests and grant personal recognizance to limit the number of people trapped in Intake.

  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 ACI as a priority community for the COVID-19 vaccination, with an informed consent and opt-out process for the population.

  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 quarantine plan for staff and incarcerated people who test positive, as well as 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.

Organizers write: “My heart breaks everyday and I’m outraged this goes on under Governor Raimondo’s watch! Gina- we have watched you sweep this issue under the rug. Our voice will no longer fall on deaf ears, and we demand to know: why are you allowing such things to happen?

Formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people will speak on the conditions in Rhode Island prisons and the negligent response to the outbreak by the DOH and DOC. 

731 incarcerated people are infected with COVID at the ACI and the number is growing. For nine months, family members, community organizers, public health experts and the public defender’s office called on Governor Raimondo, Dept of Health, Dept of Corrections, and AG Neronha to take recommended precautions. They ignored us and now disease has spread like wildfire inside a place already notorious for abusive conditions and substandard medical care. Every day we are hearing from incarcerated people and their loved ones how poorly this outbreak is being handled and how terrified they are.

This is the result of deliberate negligence and longstanding abuse towards incarcerated people!

To follow the campaign, you can follow the facebook page, RI COVID Response: Decarcerate NOW and text “RESPONSE” to 94502. 

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