Bowman Supports “People’s Hearing” of COVID-19’s Impact on Incarcerated


[Senator Ed Markey\Re-election]
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In response to New York State lawmakers failing to hold hearings on the harms of COVID-19 for incarcerated individuals inside jails and prisons, a group of advocates — Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, Parole Preparation Project, #HALTsolitary Campaign,, and Center for Community Alternatives — will be holding a “People’s Hearing” today at 10am.

 Jamaal Bowman, the Democratic nominee and likely next member of Congress in NY-16, has released the following statement to call attention to the hearing and support the advocates:

“New York State lawmakers have completely failed the people of this state by refusing to hold hearings about how COVID-19 is hurting our incarcerated brothers and sisters. When the government does not do its job, we the people must step up and hold them accountable. I am deeply appreciative of the advocates who are organizing the ‘People’s Hearing’ today to be a voice for those behind bars who our society tries to silence.

“There are more than 48,000 people currently confined to jails and prisons in New York. As we all try to safely navigate our way through this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, take a moment to imagine how difficult and terrifying it would be to try to stay safe and healthy when you are in a cage, and all of your freedom has been taken away.

“We have a cruel criminal legal system that we must fight tirelessly to transform. But, while we fight to defund the police and end mass incarceration, we have to immediately advocate for the members of our community who are behind bars right now. Let’s speak the truth: jails and prisons were dangerous as hell before COVID-19, and they are even more lethal now.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately taken the lives of Black and Brown people, and our criminal legal system has, since its inception, destroyed the lives of those same exact populations. We have to address systemic racism in all of its forms, right now. People of color will continue to be killed until we do.

“That’s why I support the ‘People’s Hearing.’ It’s a matter of life or death.”

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