Our Brothers and Sisters Behind Bars Need Our Support For Covid19 Test and Trace

As a family community advocate i reached out to the Black Doctors Covid19 Consortium after receiving communications from my advocacy partner Reginald Lewis that his friend is very sick with covid19 and not getting any help. i then got a call from my family at the same location who also expressed that they were not getting test and trace. In fact a new brother was transferred to the unit with covid19 after being transported to 3 different locations by 3 different sets of guards.

Being The Voice For Our Brothers And Sisters Behind Bars

The Black Doctors Covid19 Consortium had applied to the state to contract with them to conduct test and trace in Pennsylvania Prisons. The Consortium was told that the contract was given to another provider and testing is being done. We all who advocate for proper health care behind bars know that prisons get contracts to address mental health and don’t. We know they don’t because we get letters from inside describing the neglect taking place with their health care. We need an audit of how the prison is contracting for these health care services and what the results are?

COVID 19 Response Questionnaire (2:00) Reginald Lewis

(16) Reginald Lewis | Facebook

5/15/20

I am Reginald S. Lewis. The watchful eyes of the prison officials behind the mass oppression discourages us from talking to each other, and so a free exchange of communication is severely obstructed.

After one prisoner had Coronavirus, we have seen the presence of medical personnel on the blocks daily. For two weeks, nurses came around checking each of our temperatures. On my block, several prisoners were taken out in wheelchairs, and they have not yet returned. There’s a pitiful paucity of factual information; listening pieces are spotty, anemic. We are trapped behind a dark veil of secrecy. In prison, the degrees of separation are minute. Contact tracing: it’s impossible. Invisible line between life and death for the American prisoner, is he measurable? We need to demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections develop a safety protocol for their prison population, every prisoner, guard, volunteer, DOC employee should be tested daily, prisoner facilities should be stocked with personal protective equipment, ventilators – because it’s an incredibly condensed environment.

Well, we know from past flu seasons how a single guard or inmate can affect the entire prison population. When we organized on the outside to call on both Governor Wolf and the general assembly to grab their calculators and come up with $50,000 the state spends annually housing hoards of elderly prisoners, and the untold millions that can be saved by the early release of geriatric prisoners, a fraction of the cost can be transferred and diverted to businesses agreeing to creating job programs and to provide funding to halfway houses.

I am Reginald S. Lewis.

Smart Communications/PADOC

Reginald Sinclair Lewis, AY2902

SCI Phoenix

PO Box 33028St Petersburg, FL 33733

If you are in prison today you are 4 times more likely to become infected with COVID-19, and twice as likely to die. The virus is spreading because prison meals are served in a room with 100 people sitting less than 2 feet apart, and in dormitory prison units bunkbeds are only 3 feet apart. Cleaning supplies, hand soap and facemasks, items public health experts find critical to stopping the spread, are not always available in prisons. With the next COVID-19 surge, conditions will only get worse, and more people will become infected and die. It doesn’t have to be this way. Stand with The Sentencing Project by making a donation as we work to keep prison sentences from becoming death sentences.

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You can be at our side as we work across the country to: Reduce incarceration levels by expediting the release of elderly people and those at high risk for COVID-19 Insist that people who remain incarcerated have access to testing and PPE, and can socially distance Invest in support services for safe and effective reentry You can also take action and call on Congress to support these recommendations.

TAKE ACTION

Can we count on you to help us reduce incarceration and save lives? Thank you so much for your support! Amy 
Amy Fettig
Executive DirectorTwitter: @abfettig
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