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Meredith Curtis Goode, 443-310-9946,

March 18, 2020

Groups Call for Measures to Reject Misinformation, Mitigate Risk, including Steps to Limit Unnecessary Detention, Release People Vulnerable to COVID-19, and Transparent Plans for Health and Safety in Places of Detention   

Letter from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and School of Medicine Experts Detailing Risks for Detained Populations and Calling for Reduced Incarceration (March 25, 2020)
READ Letter 

Letter from Maryland Public Health Experts Detailing Risks for Detained Populations and Calling for Reduced Incarceration (March 19, 2020)
Read Letter

Sign on to this letter seeking COVID-19 compassion for Marylanders in jails and prisons.
Sign On

BALTIMORE — Governor Larry Hogan should act to ensure that state and local agencies heed public health experts’ advice and take immediate steps to avoid a public health crisis in Maryland’s jails and prisons, wrote a coalition of groups and concerned individuals in a letter to the Governor today. In the letter, the coalition asks the Governor to take steps to ensure that system actors are responding to recommendations put forth by public health experts, specifically calling for limits on new admissions to jails and prison; the immediate release of people identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as vulnerable, as well as those currently in pretrial detention or with sentences that soon expire; and transparent and robust plans to ensure that people who remain in places of detention have access to basic necessities like soap, handsanitizer, and cleaning supplies, to prevent a public health crisis.

In the letter, the Coalition asks Governor Hogan for an Executive Order that includes the following urgent and necessary steps: 

  1. Unequivocally rejects baseless claims that people are safer in jails and prisons than in the community.
  2. Urges all law enforcement and correctional agencies, state’s attorneys and members of the judiciary to take every step possible to avoid adding to the number of people incarcerated in any kind of detention and to expedite any steps to reduce the number of people, particularly those at risk of serious illness or death if they contract the virus.
  3. Orders the Maryland Parole Commission to expedite and expand release opportunities for those whose sentence will soon expire, those deemed able to safely return to the community, those serving short sentences, and those at greatest risk of serious illness.
  4. Authorizes Parole & Probation to limit required in-person contact and avoid incarceration for technical or minor violations.
  5. Utilizes the Governor’s clemency authority to release geriatric and other particularly vulnerable prisoners who present little to no risk to public safety and those slated to be released within two years.
  6. Requires every place of detention, whether operated by the State or not, and including those housing federal detainees to develop and implement health and safety plans and procedures ensuring that both detainees and staff have access to free cleaning supplies; that screening and medical care for those in custody; that people can communicate freely with the outside world; and do not rely on lengthy lockdowns. 
  7. Orders the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Department of Juvenile Services to take additional steps to provide greater transparency.

“Marylanders who are in detention have little to no control over who they are exposed to, the sanitation of their surroundings or access to medical care,” said Sonia Kumar, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Maryland. “It is in our collective interest to avoid the perfect storm for harm when the virus enters prisons and jails. Just as there are people particularly vulnerable to serious risk of harm from COVID-19 in the community, we have vulnerable people in our prisons and jails. We must protect them.”

Public health experts and groups such as Dr. Gregg Gonsalves, doctors working in New York City Hospitals, Dr. Marc Stern, Dr. Oluwadamilola T. Oladeru and Adam Beckman, Dr. Anne Spaulding, Homer Venters, and Josiah Rich have all clearly stated that preventing the harm inflicted by SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 can become immensely more difficult for people involved in the criminal legal system. By following the recommendations outlined in the coalition’s letter, state and local officials can create a culture in which transparency, safety, and the health of all people is the paramount concern. 

Organizational Signatories as of 3/19 at 5:30 pm:

ACLU of Maryland

ACLU of Maryland, Montgomery County Chapter

Adventist Prison & Health Reform Advocates Coalition

Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign

American Friends Service Committee

Baltimore County Justice Coalition

Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America


Congregation Action Network

Disability Rights Maryland

Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network

GR Rapid Response to ICE

Indivisible Howard County

Interfaith Action for Human Rights

Jews United for Justice

Johns Hopkins University Sit-in

Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Lifer Family Support Network

Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform

Maryland CURE

Maryland Office of the Public Defender

Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition

Maryland State Bar Association, Council for Correctional Reform

Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America

Northwestern Prison Education Program

Organizing Black Inc.

Out for Justice, Inc.

Prison Health News

Project for Transgender Incarcerated Survivors

Public Justice Center

Reproductive Justice Inside

RISE Coalition of Western Maryland

Sex Workers Outreach Project - Baltimore

Showing Up for Racial Justice Baltimore

Together We Are Safe

University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic

University of Maryland School of Law Gender Violence Clinic

University of Maryland School of Law Gender Violence Clinic

Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Youth, Education and Justice Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of Law

Youth Empowered Society


Individual Signatories: 

DaNia Henry, Georgetown University Law Center

Angela Mcknight

Alfred Chestnut

Lydia Watts, The Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR) Center at UMB

Alec Konstantin

Abbe Smith, Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Jessica Poliarco

Juanita Corbett-Youngkin

Rev. Kobi Little, Justice Chapel

Warren Rymes

Mica McNair

Tomiko Shine

Amanda Collier

Rosa Collier

Stephanie Collier

Rob Van Someren Greve

Stanley Mitchell

Autumn Woodland

Donald P. Salzman

Jane C. Murphy, Laurence M. Katz Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law

Teruko Richardson

Kyle Long Bearfoot Farm

Madeline Becker

Andrew D. Freeman

Anneke Dunbar-Gronke

Elissa Laitin

Nickole Miller, Esq.

Merrick Black

Nicole McConlogue

Hassan Ahmad

Rabbi Ariana Katz

Carol Rice, Racial Justice Circle

Brianna Gordon

Bobbie Jo Torres

Kobie Flowers, Brown Goldstein Levy LLP

Laura Atwood

Monique Gaskins

Joseph Doukmetzian

Professor Allegra McLeod, Georgetown Law

Erin Bowman

Maneka Sinha, Director, Criminal Defense Clinic, University of Maryland School of Law

Kate Epstein

Jaime Lee, Assoc. Prof. of Law, Univ. of Baltimore (in my personal capacity)

Steve Ney

Carol Harding

Tim Rothermel

Anastasia W. Smith

Jennifer Soble, Illinois Prison Project

Maureen A. Sweeney, University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic

Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell (Affiliation only Director of Louis A. Berry Institute for

Civil Rights and Justice B. K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor Southern University Law


Seema Kakade, University of Maryland School of Law

Michael Millemann Professor, University of Maryland-Carey School of Law

Michael Gaskins

Veryl Pow, University of Baltimore School of Law

Ilana Newman

Dave Fell

Jessie Dunleavy

Shaun Rosenthal Sanford Heisler Sharp

Margaret Martin Barry, Visiting Professor of Law, American University Washington

College of Law

Lizzie Spradley

Alexandria Kirchhoff Corrie


Laura Grothaus

Brian Slocum

Jeremy Penn

Kathleen Hoke, Public Health Law Clinic at Maryland Carey Law

Angel Dawson

Anika Hamilton

Rachel Burris, LMSW

Maggie Ambrose

Jessica Handy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Jess Nesbitt

Sara Gold, Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of


Katharine Evans, LMSW

Maryland Plant-based Advocates Coalition - Jo Saint-George, Esq.

Eileen Benecke

Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentin-Castanon, Trinity UMC

Jennifer Kirschner

Jessi Ahart - Communities United

Veronica Saltzman

Jenny Roberts, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Criminal Justice Clinic, American

University Washington College of Law

Savannah Fisher

Laurie Liskin

Kelci Reiss

Kristy Blalock, Gaudenzia Inc.

Keith Lucia

Delegate Nicole Williams

Lizzy Unger

Whitney Yang / US Human Rights Network

Eric E. Sterling, Executive Director, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Adjua Pryor - Georgetown University Law Student

Sarah Nesbitt

Rosalie Eck

Joe Thomas Georgetown Parity Project

Matthew Williams

Anne Sawyer

Kayla Tormohlen

Tiffany Williams

Shannon Mellott

Autumn Morrison

Perika Lancadter

Jessi Ahart - Communities United

Kizzy Diggs Dorsey Run Facility & Md Correctional Training Center


Charisse Lue

Susan A. Verbalis

Jia Ahmad, Policy Analyst, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Sachini Bandara Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sally Dworak-Fisher, Baltimore City Resident

James Foulds, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, UMBC

Rabbi Simon Stratford, Congregation Kol Ami of Frederick

Susan Sheinfeld

Charelle Pelmore

Emily Blank

Tonya Pratt

Denise Brooks

Onyinye Alheri

Pearlie Barnes

Tifani Lively

Micah Pratt

Ishyne Pratt

Rabbi Simon Stratford, Congregation Kol Ami of Frederick

Marilyn Carlisle

Adrienne Potter Yoe

Lea Green,President of Marylandcure & Lea Green,mother of a Lifer

Hester Pack-Marylandcure

Noa Krawczyk

Michele Levy

Carolyn Cullison, On Our Own of St. Mary's Inc.

Hannah Mueller

Elli Bloomberg

Miner L Brown

marcia daniel - Baltimore Hebrew Congregation

Emily Blank

Deloris Gordon

Andrew J. Miller

Gwen L. DuBois MD, MPH Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Laurel Hoa, Showing Up for Racial Justice - Montgomery County, MD

Arthur Milholland, M.D.

Amanda Latimore PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Carly Wais

Maryjoel davis, second chance for women

Thomas McCarthy

Michael Gerlach

Ellen Weber Legal Action Center

Hannah Lin

Jeremy Gombin-Sperling Jews United for Justice

Jean Athey, Maryland Peace Action

Elizabeth Finne, Second Chance for Women

Beverly Winstead, University of Maryland, Carey School of Law

Desiree Tucker, Women Solve

Mark Wolff, JUFJ

Donna Palmer

Kitty Maynard, Kent and Queen Anne's Indivisible

Damien Haussling (Private Citizen)

Eva D Bankard

Charles James III

Blair Franklin, Executive Director, Youth Empowered Society - YES Drop In Center

Emma Richardson

Brigid Kenney

Valeska Populoh

Brian Francoise, Sister Neigborhood Arts Program (SNAP!)

Diane Martindale

Christopher Martindale

Jessica Emerson, The Human Trafficking Prevention Project at the University of

Baltimore School of Law

Lorraine Wilson

Booth M. Ripke, Nathans & Biddle LLP

Ashley Hufnagel

mardi hastings, Life After Release; Community Justice

Briana O'Neal

Debora Connolly

Caroline Herritt

Rae Hample

Liz Clayton Scofield

Eva Peskin

Beth Auguste

Adryan Corcione

Liz Ensz

Emma Jaster

Brienna Parsons

Arielle Gordon

Beyond Prisons


Adam Knapp

Ezra Lin

Amy Carpenter

Avi Zenilman

Toni Perry

Janeth Davidson

Anna Gallini

Ellis Maxwell, Rethink Incarceration

Juan Gutierrez

Ian Guthrie

Kevin Carason

James Collins

Tristan Band

Huey Hewitt, Direct Action Coordinating Committee (DACC)

Tristan Teale

Zach Styles

Gail Thomson

John LeGore

Grace Oppy

Chloe Danyo


Alex Chao

cathy n


Daniel Espo

Michelle Anderson

Jeremy Abramowitz

Philip Hannan III

Jared Wright

David Joseph

Harry Huckle

Carolina Villegas

Philip Alban

Brendan Raymond


Zain Ahmed

George Inotowok

Juan Arbelaez

Cyerra Gage

Anna O'Brien

John Hernandez

Kushan Ratnayake

Astron Lockhart

Paul Hess

Sofia Di Gennaro

Gabrielle Dean

April oviedi

Tom Connolly

Katalina Khoury

Valerie Evans

Fallon Keavney

Rafael Ibay


Natnael Bekele

Chris Carpenter

Melissa Bishop Prairie UU Church

Andrew Parsons

aran felice

Juel Johnson

Alex Jimenez

Rebecca Scarborough

Jonathan Feingold

Elizabeth Hazel

Anya Harjung

Magen Toole

Concerned Citizen


Timour Kamran


Brady Pelkey

Brandi M Reed

Mark Sine



joseph ramey

Rodette Jones:United Workers

Alex Klinman

Grace Viscito

Devin Luqman, Esq., Managing Parter of Luqman Law

Juniper Morgan

Christina Asare

Jack Hsia

Sarah Bur, MPH, RN, CIC

Gary W. Gillespie

Jennifer Zito, representing The Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform (MAJR)


Ashton Landes

Adrianna O'Brien

Chiara Longoni

Alyssa Glenn

Candice Smith

Nisha Foster

Caren Stewart

Michael Stewart

Kiara Streater

Ellis Hartridge

Julian Atta-Poku

Erin McIntosh, SWOP

Kimberly Haven

Iman Freeman, Baltimore Action Legal Team

Brittany Smith

Antonia Fasanelli, Homeless Persons Representation Project

Katie Collins-Ihrke Accessible Resources for Independence

Paul B DeWolfe, Office of the Public Defender

Dominique Conway AFSC-Friend of a Friend

Laurie Bezold

Marc Howard, Georgetown University Prisons and Justice Initiative