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Children Cannot “Social Distance” in Jail

We hope you are staying safe and healthy. All of us have been are feeling the effects of this pandemic, but our Children’s Rights community is strong and we will find our way through this together.

Yet as the calls for quarantining and social distancing grow, many children are stuck in cramped and unsanitary jails and detention facilities. Their continued detainment during this crisis isn’t just compassionless but senseless — leaving children vulnerable and creating a pandemic pipeline that has the potential to overwhelm our prison systems and infect many more people outside their walls.

In this crisis we must fight so that all children can be safely home or in loving foster care homes. Lawmakers in New York City, Los Angeles and Ohio have already begun releasing non-violent youth in detention back to their families. Together we can ensure that officials across the country take similar action.

Now more than ever, we must continue to fight for children’s health and safety by removing them from crowded detention facilities. Add your name to tell your elected officials to bring our children home.

America’s jails and prisons are dangerous places to stay healthy, even in the best of times. Inmates live in close proximity, sharing toilets and eating spaces with poor hygiene and little ventilation. Guards, staff and visitors are constantly churning through, carrying with them germs from the outside.  In our new coronavirus world, this is a recipe for disaster for prisoners and staff alike. 

Children’s Rights has long been a voice for the incarcerated youth. We know that many of them have not been convicted of a crime, but are locked up simply because their families cannot afford to post bail. This is injustice enough, but now they are being held in places that are likely to make them sick. And it’s getting worse. Officials are taking drastic measures to isolate them. Children who are already traumatized and suffering from toxic stress will now suffer even further psychological damage as prisons and jails ban visits by family members, educators and other support personnel in the name of infection control.

We cannot let this happen. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights will continue to hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. As we all focus on the safety of our own families, we must remember to protect those whose safety is most at risk. We are proud to have you by our side during this crisis — helping to amplify our voice.

Add your name to tell lawmakers across the country that our children must come home for the sake of our collective health.

Together we can bring positive change from this crisis. It’s time to bring our incarcerated children home.

Thank you for fighting for all children,

Sandy Santana
 Executive Director

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