COVID-19: Demand immediate release for those incarcerated in Knox County jail

COVID-19: Demand immediate release for those incarcerated in Knox County jail

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Community Defense of East TN started this petition to Governor Bill Lee and

With precaution taken by our country and state to protect the most vulnerable amongst us from the COVID-19, we are here to sound the alarm for those people in custody who will be exposed within the Knox County Jail system. Several people are being held in pretrial detention and the juvenile facility.

Our call is for the immediate release of those in Knox County detention facility and the juvenile detention center. With Knoxville having a confirmed case already and with the Supreme court issuing an order to suspend all in-person judicial proceedings through March 31, it is imperative the jail system act now.


Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency for Tennessee as of March 12. We are echoing the call of health officials around the world of limiting the number of people who are gathered in one space. Detention facilities are a high-risk breeding ground that will quickly get out of control if precautions are not taken now. We have already seen how the virus wreaks havoc on communities in confined spaces, i.e., nursing homes and cruise ships. The jail population has an increased exposure with the constant turn around of people like attorneys, staff, probation and medical staff in and out daily, Which puts the general population at a higher risk as well. 


Locking down facilities and taking away visitation is not a sustainable or humane solution. These solutions are temporary, not thought out, and increase mental health crises. We call for the immediate release of those with medical issues, elderly and pregnant. We call for pretrial release, and the end of ice holds. We call for emergency bond hearings to release on own recognizance. We call a halt to all in-person probation and parole meetings. Immediate release of all pre-trial detentions. Instant access to free phone calls and video visitation. We demand urgent healthcare given to those in need. We also call for the release of all individuals on the Work Release Program and those being held on child support.

Upon release there needs to be a comprehensive plan that providing immediate unrestricted resources to those returning home in a state of emergency.

Community Groups that Support Our Demands:
Knoxville Black Mama's Bail Out
Knoxville City Council Movement
ICE Out of East TN
Progressive Student Alliance at UTK

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!