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Former inmates calling for an end to mass incarceration during the pandemic

'These prisons are so overcrowded, there's no social distancing,' said one former inmate
Posted at 10:47 AM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 10:47:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former incarcerated citizens are calling for an end to mass incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Saturday, several people met across the state and nation for a unified bell ringing as a commitment to freedom.

Debra Bennett, Executive Director of Change Comes Now, said that being in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic is a death sentence.

Inside prisons, she said it is impossible to social distance and that precautions to protect people are non-existent.

"These prisons are so overcrowded," said Bennett. "There's no social distancing. COVID is ravaging these prisons."

Bennett said she served 19 years in prison and that a crime someone commits does not always define who they are years later and that money housing inmates could be spent on other programs such as rehab.

Bennett is suggesting that prisoners, especially those eligible for parole or clemency, be released until the pandemic is under control.

She said she knows of two people who went to prison just months ago that have died of COVID-19 inside.