coronavirus pandemic

Activists Call for Prison Reform, Decarceration Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Activists say they have received "credible weekly reports of a lack of masks, no gloves and barely any sanitizer."

NBC10 Boston

Activist rallied at the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to improve conditions at correctional facilities and release some inmates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 1 p.m. rally called on the state to "sensibly and strategically decarcerate," and reform the correctional system.

"Thousands of Massachusetts taxpaying citizens are very concerned about the unsafe conditions and overcrowding in not only our nursing homes but also in our corrections facilities in the Department of Youth Services, Department of Corrections and County Jails," organizers said. "Because of our collective outrage, we invite you to this large and powerful action."

A total of 17,617 tests were conducted statewide at 52 free, pop-up testing sites set up on June 17 and 18.

The activists called for Baker to ensure that "correctional facilities are up to CDC standards but also to release those who can leave prison without any safety concerns for our communities as soon as possible, as other states around the country and world have done."

Speakers included state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, who has filed a decarceration bill, in addition to activists and representatives from churches.

The activists said they had received "credible weekly reports of a lack of masks, no gloves and barely any sanitizer."

Congregate care settings have emerged as potential hot spots for the coronavirus. reported earlier this month that dozens of inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 at MCI-Framingham have tested positive with the coronavirus and that there had been fatal cases at the Massachusetts Treatment Center and MCI-Shirley.

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