REFORM Alliance, the criminal justice reform organization founded by Meek Mill, Michael Rubin, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, and others, teamed up with Madonna and Jessica Alba’s husband, film producer Cash Warren, to send 100,000 additional masks to more prison facilities.
REFORM Alliance announced the partnership with Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation and Warren’s Pair of Thieves to send personal protective equipment (PPE) to several correctional facilities across the nation to help protect incarcerated people and staff from the COVID-19 virus. According to a press release, 50,000 masks will be delivered to the Cook County Jail and the Illinois Department of Corrections, where more than 600 incarcerated people and staff have tested positive COVID-19. An additional 20,000 masks will be delivered to the Louisiana Department of Corrections and the remaining 30,000 masks will be distributed between Vacaville Prison in California, FCI Ray Brook in New York, and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts.
Other organizations making contributions include The Bail Project, The Dosberg Fund, Operation LIPSTICK, and #cut50.
This is the second PPE donation that REFORM made to correctional facilities. Earlier this month, REFORM partnered with advocate Shaka Senghor to send 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Corrections; 5,000 masks to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman; and 50,000 to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City. Another 2,500 will also be sent to a Rikers medical facility.
Leaders within the advocacy group said the masks will help protect incarcerated people, correctional officers, and healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. They also warned that without proper protections and provisions, the prison system can implode into a hotbed for the novel coronavirus since confined spaces make it nearly impossible to enforce social distancing guidelines.
In addition to the protective gear, last month the REFORM Alliance revealed the SAFER Plan, a proposal urging governors across the country to release elderly and nonviolent criminals to home confinement. They’ve also asked for suspended jail sentences for technical violations and better sanitary conditions in prisons to reduce the spread of the outbreak.
“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. “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.”