The following can be attributed to Dana Vickers Shelley, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland:
“Instead of heeding public health experts’ urgent call to reduce prison and jail populations, Governor Hogan’s solution to sharply rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in facilities is to use prison labor to make face masks for others, with little regard for their lives.
“Hogan’s position on handling COVID-19 in our jails and prisons risks the safety of us all, and it contrasts sharply to every other issue where he has listened to public health experts and urged Marylanders to do the same. Public health experts are clear that population reduction is essential to allowing facilities to manage the pandemic. Hogan’s response shows an utter disregard for the humanity of the mostly Black and Brown Marylanders who are disproportionately incarcerated. Hogan’s response harkens back to the darkest days of history, when Black people were forced to work for the benefit of others, while their own safety and humanity were disregarded.
“Governor Hogan must show leadership for all Marylanders, including the thousands of Marylanders directly affected by the conditions in our prisons and jails. He must act immediately to get people out, especially children, those whose sentences are ending soon, the elderly, and those most at risk from COVID-19. He has the power. He needs to do it now.”
PRESS RELEASE: Coalition Urges Governor Hogan to Act to Prevent Public Health Crisis in Maryland Prisons and Jails (March 18, 2020)