FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kenyatta Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org | 860-937-6094
Online: @katalcenter #FreeThemNowCT #COVIDBehindBars
Family Members of Incarcerated People Gather at Gov. Lamont’s Mansion for Silent Protest, Call for Action in Face of Pandemic
With Coronavirus Continuing to Spread in CT Prisons and Jails, Lamont Must Release Incarcerated People to Save Lives
Families Place Posters Demanding Release of Their Loved Ones on Gates at Lamont’s Mansion
Hartford, CT – Today, family members of incarcerated individuals gathered outside Governor Lamont’s mansion for a silent protest, placing posters on the gates of his home calling for the immediate release of people from Connecticut jails and prisons due to COVID-19. Lamont has ignored requests from his constituents and still has not rescheduled the meeting with family members of incarcerated loved ones to discuss a plan to protect incarcerated people during the pandemic. Governor Lamont has cancelled twice over the last two months, leaving family members in the dark. As of today, 525 incarcerated people and 366 Department of Corrections staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.
While incarcerated people in Connecticut are dying from COVID-19, the Governor has unveiled plans to partially re-open the state later this month. But the number of positive COVID-19 cases is growing in jails and prisons throughout the state, ravaging incarcerated people. Though the DOC announced that they will begin testing all incarcerated people and frontline staff for COVID-19, had they listened to families and community groups at the onset of the pandemic, had they taken action months ago when families demanded, there would not be as many people testing positive for COVID-19 as there are now. And as testing finally expands, they will soon uncover more.
Jails and prisons are notorious incubators of contagions, due to close quarters and unsanitary conditions, meaning that Governor Lamont’s continued inaction in the midst of this public health crisis will result in more preventable deaths. Both New York and New Jersey, along with states across the country, have all released and continue to release more people from jails and prisons to mitigate the impact and spread of the virus, and it is time that Connecticut follow their leadership to save lives. We are past the point of being out of time; decarceration is the critical step needed to address this crisis.
Statements from Katal members and family members of people incarcerated in Connecticut:
Perez, member of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, said: “They can take our signs down, but we’re still gonna be here. Governor Lamont needs to release incarcerated people in response to the pandemic. We don’t have time to waste.”
Imani Pennant, member of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, said: “We the people hold the power and influence to change the world. We the people ARE the power, and it’s clear that the Governor wants to ignore us. What he needs to do is this: Free. Them. Now.”
Julia Rosenblatt, Hartford, Connecticut resident, said: “We can’t wait any longer for the Governor to have a revelation of how to keep incarcerated people safe. We have the answers and he refused to listen. Members of his staff threw away our posters after weeks of inaction from him. Governor Lamont needs to do the right thing and release incarcerated people to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails.”