ATLANTA – The ACLU of Georgia published an open letter to all public officials with responsibility for dealing with COVID-19 in the criminal legal system. The letter specifies actions that the governor, sheriffs, probation and parole agents, parole boards, police, prosecutors, and judges should take to prevent the harm inflicted by SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 that can make things immensely more difficult for people involved in the criminal legal system.
“People in custody cannot protect themselves. The recent announcement that one staff member of the Department of Corrections has tested positive for the virus makes it even more urgent for 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. Individuals who are low-level offenders or who are incarcerated awaiting trial because of an inability to pay cash bail or in custody due to an inability to pay fines and fees should be released,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.