FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 8, 2022
Contact: Yonah Zeitz, firstname.lastname@example.org | (347) 201-2769
Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter | #FreeThemNowCT
Another Person Incarcerated in Connecticut Dies from COVID-19
Governor Lamont Must Take Urgent Action to Protect Incarcerated People from COVID-19
Hartford, CT: News broke yesterday evening that another incarcerated person in Connecticut died due to COVID-19. This year, seven people have died in custody of the CT Department of Correction (DOC), bringing the total number of reported deaths in the Department due to COVID-19 to 30. To date, more than 9,100 incarcerated people in the DOC have tested positive for COVID-19. This means that over 90% of the entire jail and prison population in the state have tested positive for the virus in state correctional facilities; in Connecticut, less than 25% of the general population have tested positive for the virus.
Governor Lamont and lawmakers have thus far failed to develop a comprehensive and transparent COVID-19 plan in the DOC, exacerbating the pandemic crisis within prison and jails in Connecticut.
Statement from Kenyatta Muzzanni, Director of Organizing, Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice.
“Katal offers our deepest condolences to the family of the person who died of COVID-19 in CT DOC Custody. Katal members and staff have loved ones incarcerated in Connecticut and we know how terrible this pandemic has been for incarcerated people in the state. This tragic loss of yet another life is an important reminder that the COVD-19 pandemic is still raging and incarcerated people are at heightened risk of contracting the virus, experiencing myriad health complications, and even dying. This 63-year-old man was terminally ill and incarcerated not for a criminal offense, but for a non-criminal, technical violation of parole. His incarceration became a death sentence.
Since the pandemic began, impacted people, community groups, and public health experts have called for Governor Lamont and the legislature to develop a clear, coherent plan for reducing the impact of COVID-19 in correctional facilities, including implementing rigorous public health measures within prison and jails and facilitating the rapid release of people from jails and prisons. They have not done so. Instead, Lamont’s DOC is focused on incarcerating people for noncriminal technical violations of parole, in the midst of a pandemic and during the latest COVID wave. This is unconscionable, and highlights how distant Lamont is from the painful realities faced by people impacted by mass incarceration in Connecticut, most of whom are Black and brown.
Last year, the Prison Policy Initiative released a report grading every state prison system on their response to COVID-19. Connecticut earned a grade of F+. As this latest death shows, Lamont has done little if anything to improve the response to COVID in state jails and prisons. We can – and must – do better.”