According to spokespeople for the rappers and the organization, this weekend REFORM donated more than 130,000 surgical masks to a variety of correctional facilities to help inmates, correctional officers and health care workers survive during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“COVID-19 spreads most quickly in crowded and closed environments, and our jails and prisons are at high risk for an outbreak,” reads a note from the organization. “This is a huge threat to public health. Right now, hardly any government officials have a plan to address this crisis. REFORM does. We have worked with experts and advocates from across the political aisle to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER.”
REFROM is sending the masks to the Tennessee Department of Corrections (40,000), New York’s Rikers Island (50,000) and its medical facility (2,500) — where there are already 200 cases of COVID-19 — the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman (5,000), as well as more than 30,000 to prisons in South Carolina.
“Governors and people who run jails and prisons in this country need to take the pandemic in Rikers as a warning,” said Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance in a statement. “We’re in danger of seeing prisons coast-to-coast turn into morgues. It is important to get medical supplies in, and it is equally important to get more human beings out. REFORM Alliance is working on both.”