Organizations Recommend Steps Stitt Should Take to Avoid Outbreak in Jails, Prisons

Mar 27, 2020

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Churches, think tanks and social service organizations are calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to take actions that could prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s jails and prisons.

Joey Magana with Americans for Prosperity said the facilities are not safe for inmates or guards because they’re too full, house many people with medical conditions and not cleaned enough.

"Cases are continuing to rise and will continue to rise. And so, acting in. very timely manner is, I think, essential, not only to protect the population that are incarcerated, but also our law enforcement officials who might be in the jails and prisons," Magana said.

One of the most straightforward steps is to let some people out.

"Folks who are in the system who have low-level offenses so that they’re not put at risk. Also look at some of the elderly population and folks that have underlying conditions that we know are very susceptible to the virus," Magana said.

Other steps include more cleaning and sanitizing, providing hand sanitizer and soap at no charge, suspending mandatory in-person meetings, and a moratorium on sending people to jail for failing to pay fines and fees.

Besides Americans for Prosperity, Still She Rises, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, ACLU Oklahoma, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Women's Coalition, OK Policy Institute, Center for Employment Opportunities and The Oklahoma Conference of Churches have signed on to the recommendations.