ACLU of Georgia: Death and Spread of COVID-19 at Lee State Prison Tragic, Calls for Release of Those Individuals Who Do Not Pose a Threat to Public Safety

Affiliate: ACLU of Georgia
March 27, 2020 4:30 pm

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ATLANTA – This afternoon, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that “the outbreak of coronavirus at Lee State Prison in southwest Georgia has worsened as staff members and more inmates test positive. One inmate, Anthony Cheek, 49, died Thursday night at a local hospital, where he’d been since mid-March, Lee County Coroner Hill Mackey confirmed.”

“This death is tragic, and our hearts go out to the family. This is the very reason that we are asking state and local officials to implement procedures to protect all people who are in our prisons and jails from being exposed to and contracting the COVID-19 virus,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia. “Individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety or are incarcerated awaiting trial because of an inability to pay cash bail should be released. Putting people at risk by keeping them in jail beyond what is necessary for public safety poses a far-reaching health threat to the people incarcerated, the staff, and the greater community.”

Click here to read this press statement online, the ACLU of Georgia letter to Gov. Kemp and Commissioner Toomey, and the ACLU of Georgia open letter to the Criminal Law Stakeholders.

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