Governor John Bel Edwards: Team with LUI to evacuate Louisiana's COVID-19 Death Chambers
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1. Government reports on what is happening in Louisiana detention centers, jails, and prisons are inconsistent with what people confined in those facilities are telling their family members. So at this point, the government reports are unreliable, and we have reason to believe that everyone incarcerated in the State of Louisiana is at risk of dying from COVID-19 infections, and that means thousands of Black people may get sick or die in captivity;
2. The U.S. Constitution and international human rights treaties that are part of America’s federal law have a lot of fancy ways of making this point and that is: The punishment should fit the crime. Louisiana officials talking public safety outside that parameter – outside of keeping crime and punishment in proportion . . . when they go beyond those dynamics, they’re flirting with genocide;
3. This is not an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. Governors and Wardens are not empowered to choose one life versus another. In the context of an epidemic or pandemic, their comparison should be limited to crimes and punishments that may include exposure to a deadly virus. When that price is too high to pay given the circumstances of a person’s incarceration, he or she should be released under appropriate terms;
4. What we have now are people confined because the tough on crime folks don’t want them released;
5. Governor Edwards, Louisiana United International, Inc. (LUI) is leading the fight against the COVID-19 Death Chambers that Louisiana's detention centers, jails, and prisons have become. We need you to meet immediately with Belinda Parker-Brown, LUI’s CEO, and whomever she designates, to finalize arrangements for working directly with LUI in accomplishing a substantial, controlled evacuation of the state’s detention centers, jails, and prisons as LUI proposed in its March 31, 2020 letter to you about the matter. Time is of essence. We must stop the avoidable deaths of African Americans in the detention centers, jails, an prisons of Louisiana during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic;
6. Please act immediately to meet with LUI as proposed.
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