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:

Community stakeholders and leaders who signed on to the letter include:

Community Stakeholders:

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 Cares

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

Community Leaders:

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