May 14, 2020
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) urges the Jewish community relations field to advocate with their governor and state and local officials to urgently address the growing COVID-19 emergency in prisons and jails. With every hour of inaction, the human tragedy mounts.
JCPA has put together a set of recommendations for you to share with your elected officials. They focus on three areas: reducing the number of people who are incarcerated, providing resources to jails and prisons for those who cannot be released, and eliminating, or at least suspending, the barriers to benefits and services. For detailed recommendations that have been prepared by JCPA and our national coalition partners, click here.
What You Can Do
We urge the Jewish community relations network to weigh in with your officials at the state and local levels. Recognizing the potential catastrophe facing incarceration facilities in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, JCPA and our partners in the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition and Justice Roundtable encourage you to join us in advocating for emergency practices at the state and levels for those most at risk.
As part of JCPA’s Criminal Justice Initiative, we are working closely with our partners to monitor the emergency situation in prisons and jails across the U.S. due to COVID-19. It is especially crucial during this pandemic that the Jewish community advocate both nationally and locally for this vulnerable population and bolster the influence of movements led by impacted communities calling for change.
Here are the current action requests:
- Write an organizational letter urging your state and local elected officials to protect this at-risk population in your community. Click here for a template individual organizational letter.
- Organize a local Jewish communal sign-on to raise awareness and mobilize the Jewish community. Click here for a Jewish communal sign-on template. For a sample, click here to read the sign-on letter from the JCRC of New York’s local Jewish Coalition on Criminal Justice Reform.
- Join with your coalition partners working with state and local governments in advocacy and mobilization efforts to mitigate the impact of this public health crisis in prisons and jails. For more information and suggestions, please contact Tammy Gilden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Share JCPA’s action alert for the broader community with your networks. To watch JCPA’s webinar, Coronavirus in Prisons, Jails: An Emergency We Need To Address Now, click here.
JCPA is interested in what actions you take in your community. Please let Tammy Gilden know if you took action or have any questions or need assistance. Thank you for taking action!