The numbers are devastating. People sitting in jail – who hadn’t even been convicted of a crime – are dead!
They weren’t on death row, and some of them had even been cleared for release. But the pandemic and an oppressive system are working together to kill without pause.
Texas shows just how bad it is. 80% of people who died of COVID-19 in custody there were in pretrial detention with NO conviction!
Of the hundreds who died, many passed away without ever being tested for COVID-19. Some aren’t counted at all for another reason.
People with preexisting conditions that died on the inside because the virus worsened their problems are not included in COVID-19 counts. Some of them had served 90% of their sentence and were about to go home!
This isn’t exclusive to Texas, either – it’s still happening across the country.
Although the death penalty was inadvertently halted because of the pandemic, death sentences are created by pandemic conditions. Incarceration is incubating the virus, spreading it, and indiscriminately killing people behind bars. The worst of it isn’t even over.
Although states have been increasingly lax about the pandemic, the numbers have continued to rise, with the U.S. now accounting for the most deaths in the WORLD. Black people are disproportionately dying – and we cannot neglect those of us behind bars.