BROWARD, Fla. - On Thursday, community stakeholders sent a letter to Broward County officials warning that a COVID-19 outbreak in jails could result in disaster for the entire county. The letter demanded that proactive steps are taken to protect incarcerated people, correctional and medical personnel, and nearby community members.
Citing recommendations made by health experts and the United States Attorney General, William Barr, signatories like Chainless Change urged agencies to reduce the jail population and halt new admissions.
Broward County’s Sheriff’s Office has approximately 3,400 individuals incarcerated in its four main jail facilities. The overpopulated and unsanitary conditions are highly susceptible to viral infections. Broward County institutions do not have sufficient access to medical care, testing supplies and personal protective sanitary equipment needed to prevent an outbreak.
Florida currently has 7,773 reported cases of COVID-19. Broward has 1,348 cases, making it the second highest count in the state. Both state and local numbers are expected to rise exponentially, putting an increased strain on under-resourced healthcare systems.
The call to action follows a report that four Broward County Sheriff's Office staff tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the forced isolation of an additional 103 employees.
The letter can be found here: https://www.aclufl.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_broward_county_offi...
Community stakeholders and leaders who signed on to the letter include:
Chainless Change, Inc.
ACLU of Florida
ACLU of Florida, Broward Chapter
Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward
Broward Dream Defenders
Broward Young Black Progressives
Broward Young Democrats
Change Comes Now
Community Based Connections, Inc.
Davis Legal Center
Florida Justice Center
Forging Alliances, Inc.
Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees
Kids Always 1st
Minority Builders Coalition, Inc.
OIC of South Florida
Positive Peer Mentoring
Ruth’s List Broward County
South Florida Reentry Task Force
Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund
Women's March Florida-Broward Chapter
Joe Kimok, President, Broward Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Sabrina Javellana, Vice-Mayor of Hallandale Beach
Alissa Schafer, Supervisor, Broward County Soil and Water
Brian C. Johnson, Vice Mayor of West Park
Emma Collum, Attorney and Supervisor, Broward County Soil and Water
Harold Pryor, Corporate Counsel, Hotwire Communications
Julie Fishman, Commissioner of Tamarac
Jasmen Rogers-Shaw, Activist
Josh Rydell, Vice-Mayor of Coconut Creek
Joshua Simmons, Commissioner of Coral Springs
Marlon D. Bolton, Vice Mayor of Tamarac
Michael Gottlieb, State Representative District 98
Mike Gelin, Commissioner of Tamarac
Nancy Metayer, Environmental Scientist
Oscar J. Braynon, State Senator District 35
Ruby Green, Broward County Public Defender
Shevrin Jones, State Representative District 101