Pryor urges governor to consider ALL Hoosiers during COVID-19 pandemic
INDIANAPOLIS - For almost a month, State Representative Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) has been in a fruitless correspondence with Governor Eric Holcomb regarding a letter she sent him in early April, which emphasized the needs of Hoosiers who must either go into essential work or who are overcrowded in Indiana's prisons. The letter urged him to provide protections for essential workers and protect Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) staff, offenders and communities at-large from a further spread of COVID-19 by releasing nonviolent offenders early.
Pryor received a response from the governor's office in regard to her original letter. Governor Holcomb stated that he was not considering the early release of offenders and that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines must be followed in order to protect essential workers.
Pryor also received additional information from the DOC on the number of offenders who have been tested, precautions being taken by the staff and a timeline of events related to COVID-19.
With reports showing 92 percent of offenders in one Indiana facility testing positive for COVID-19, the number of correctional facilities reporting outbreaks on the rise, several DOC deaths, and the increased number of essential workers testing positive and dying from COVID-19, Pryor sent a follow-up letter to the governor. The letter, once again, urged Governor Holcomb to release nonviolent offenders in an attempt to lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our correctional facilities and to include essential workers in the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Pryor will continue to press Governor Holcomb on this issue and has released the statement below:
“Essential workers go to work every day praying they will not contract COVID-19. They don't have the luxury to stay safe at home. They are unsung heroes who are often overlooked, but provide us with essential services during these uncertain times. Additionally, our jails and prisons have become hotspots for COVID-19 and are progressively getting worse. We have seen from the Stay-At-Home executive order and social distancing guidelines that this disease is curbed when people aren't in close proximity to each other, but that is almost impossible in our overcrowded correctional facilities and essential businesses. Two logical solutions to protect all Hoosiers are to grant protections for all essential workers by providing them with PPE, or requiring their employers to provide it, and releasing nonviolent offenders who are scheduled to be released in the near future.”