STATEMENT BY COUNCILMEMBERS BROOKS, GYM, GAUTHIER, JOHNSON, GILMORE RICHARDSON, GREEN, AND THOMAS CALLING ON PA SUPREME COURT TO ADDRESS THE COVID-19 THREAT IN COUNTY JAILS AND YOUTH DETENTION FACILITIES

In Council News, Featured, Helen Gym, Isaiah Thomas, Jamie Gauthier, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Kendra Brooks, Kenyatta Johnson, News by PHL Council

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Philadelphia, PA – April 3, 2020 – Philadelphia City Councilmembers Kendra Brooks (At Large), Helen Gym (At Large), Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At Large), Derek Green (At Large), and Isaiah Thomas (At Large) today issued to following statement calling on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to address the growing COVID-19 threat in county jails and youth detention facilities:

We support the positions of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the Juvenile Law Center and Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project, as outlined in the emergency petitions filed this week. As the petitions highlight, incarcerated individuals face a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Moreover, county jails have a high turnover rate, sending people back to our neighborhoods, whether or not they have been infected. A swift reduction in the population of our jails and youth detention facilities is necessary to slow the spread of the virus and protect the lives of Philadelphians. This process would target primarily low-level and juvenile offenders and provide an opportunity for objection by the District Attorney’s Office on public safety grounds. Indeed, similar orders by courts in nearby states have already been issued, including those of New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington.  

Where courts have failed to take action, such as in New York City, the county jails have seen hundreds of inmates and county jail staff alike become infected. The City of Philadelphia has already identified at least twenty confirmed cases of the COVID-19 across the county jails, local prisons, and the Juvenile Justice Services Center. As the number of infected individuals throughout the city climbs, the window of time for action grows smaller each day.  

As City officials, we share a collective responsibility to protect the safety, health, and well-being of all Philadelphia residents. Based on the available scientific research and data, it is likely that the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to grow in our City. Swift action is needed to protect the wellbeing of our incarcerated residents, correctional staff, and community members. 

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 CONTACT Kendra Brooks, Councilmember At-LargeMaggie Hart (margaret.hart@phila.gov) 484-649-4373 

 CONTACT Jamie Gauthier, 3rd District Councilmember: Stephanie Browne (stephanie.browne@phila.gov) 215-934-0709  

 CONTACT Helen Gym, Councilmember At-Large: Greg Windle (greg.windle@phila.gov) 215-847-0358 

 CONTACT Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd District Councilmember: Vincent Thompson (vincent.thompson@phila.gov), 215-279-4951  

 CONTACT Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember At-Large: Taylor Daukaus (taylor.daukaus@phila.gov), 2156860454 

 CONTACT Derek Green, Councilmember At-Large: Kyra Harris (kyra.harris@phila.gov) 215-847-9135 

 CONTACT Isaiah Thomas, Councilmember At-Large: Max Weisman (max.weisman@phila.gov) 610-306-2195 

 

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