Bryan Stirling and Gov. McMaster: Arrest the Virus, Free the Prisoners!

Bryan Stirling and Gov. McMaster: Arrest the Virus, Free the Prisoners!

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Party for Socialism and Liberation - Columbia, SC started this petition to South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling and

COVID-19 presents a grave crisis to all people incarcerated in South Carolina. During this crisis, in the interest of saving lives, we demand that you:

1.) Release all pre-trial prisoners:

Anyone sitting in jails, prisons, juvenile justice facilities who are awaiting trial should be released. Nationwide a shocking 60% - 70% of incarcerated people in jail are pre-trial. These inmates have not been convicted of a crime but are forced to stay incarcerated merely because they cannot afford bail funds. Cash bail is a backward system and should be abolished and in the midst of a pandemic it's extremely urgent they are released right away. 

2.) Release all Immigrants: 

All immigrants detained in county jails should be released, and all removal proceedings should be halted.  All enforcement should also cease to prevent the detention of anyone else and to ensure no one is afraid to seek medical attention. All check-ins and mandatory court appearances should be suspended to ensure social distancing recommendations are being followed. 

3.) Release the Immunocompromised:

All people who are incarcerated should be given a thorough health screening and those who are found to be immunocompromised or who are already deemed so should be released to safe, secure housing.

Women incarcerated who are pregnant or who are 8 weeks postpartum should be released immediately. Immunity levels drop when pregnant or postpartum and this will ensure the safety of mother and child.

4.) Release the Elderly:

Elderly people are one of the most vulnerable demographics to the COVID-19 pandemic. All elderly prisoners should be released to safe and secure housing, assisted living facilities etc. immediately.

5.) Housing and Employment for all:

Everyone being released should have safe, secure housing available to them. With many buildings and houses being empty, this should not be an issue-this housing should be provided to them free of charge. Upon release employment should be provided to them as well.

6.) Release all Juvenile Offenders:

Children in the juvenile justice system should be released immediately to family members/caretakers. The state will allocate no less than $2,000/month  to ensure that all guardians of children released from Department of Juvenile Justice have basic necessities to care for formerly incarcerated youth.

7.) Enact Adequate Safety Measures for Those Who Remain Inside:

All people who will remain incarcerated will continue regular health screenings, COVID-19 testing and preventative care.

This will include regular sanitizing of prisons and jails.

Persons incarcerated will be provided with protective gear; gloves, masks etc and access to adequate cleaning supplies to clean cells.

There will be an immediate end to the lockdown that is in place and allow people incarcerated to go outside while still practicing social distancing.

Due to visitation being halted during the pandemic all persons incarcerated will be provided with video visitation with their families, friends etc.

South Carolina must do everything within its powers to ensure that all citizens are given proper care and treatment of COVID-19; and that every citizen is not left in situations where they may be in danger of contracting COVID-19. 

You have the power to act.

As Director of South Carolina Department of Corrections and Governor of South Carolina, your emergency powers authorize you to put  these demands into effect and ensure the safety and protection of the most marginalized South Carolinians. We ask that you allow every person that is incarcerated in facilities within South Carolina Department of Corrections, the basic human right of safety, and security and access to health care during this global pandemic.

Sponsored by: Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the Party for Socialism and Liberation - Columbia, Students for Justice in Palestine at UofSC, the Center for Social Equity, Southerners on New Ground - Columbia, and the Young Democratic Socialists of America at UofSC. 


0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!