FL COVID-19 Hotline for Incarcerated People

We are a group of organizers in South Florida who have established a free hotline for incarcerated people to report on conditions and receive information, education, and support related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date we have taken calls from 384 people imprisoned who have utilized the hotline since we opened the lines up in early April, and we are continuing to document conditions and support folks on the inside. In fact the information we gathered and the reports we generated were pivotal in the recent ACLU filing a class action law suit on behalf of people incarcerated in the Broward County jails. They've arrived at a Settlement Agreement for which to hold Broward Sheriff's Office accountable. While the bulk of the calls have been from Broward jails thus far, we have also been hearing from folks in the Palm Beach County jails.

We need help from you to allow us to keep this hotline running. Calls from people on the inside range from around $6.40-$16 each. This is financially unsustainable for us in the long run unless we receive donations.

At Broward County Jail, Milton Thomas reports that staff are not wearing masks when together in their booths and that Officers leaving the covid quarantine units are not changing their gloves before coming into their units. Folks who are experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to folks who have covid are not being tested. While South Florida is in the midst of a major spike in Covid-19 cases, Terence Harden reports that there are folks in several units who are sleeping on the floor on mats in the Day Room because all the beds are full and there is no way to practice social distancing. Masks are issued once every two weeks and they are simply falling apart after a few days. Many have reported that their medical needs are being neglected, the bathrooms are moldy and do not get cleaned daily, and they have not had a hot breakfast nor had time outdoors in  many months. Meanwhile, since there has been no halt in arrests throughout South Florida, new inmates arrive daily with symptoms of COVID-19 and very few people have been tested. Even a year into the pandemic prisoners in all jails in Broward and Palm Beach Counties consistently report that the jail administration has yet to communicate a plan of action to them regarding Covid-19. We so often hear that folks incarcerated feel like sitting ducks, especially because courts are functioning at a fraction of normal operating capacity and the longer they have to wait for a court date, the more at risk they become to contracting the virus.

Public health experts recommend decarceration, and a crucial component of this effort is the first-person reports from incarcerated people. The situation that inmates describe suggests that unless the majority of people are immediately released, a severe public health crisis is imminent.

Our organizing and advocacy is blossoming into concrete action. At least five people incarcerated have been released as a direct result of this effort, one of whom was a volunteer on the hotline for the first couple of months after being released, and an increasing number of cases are being examined more urgently as a result of our advocacy and direct contact with their lawyers. As part of the deCARcerate coalition we have demonstrated outside of the jails which we've heard from many inside the jail was very uplifting to see folks caring about their situation and not forgetting their plight. 

We need to get people out of jails and prisons as soon as possible, and your donation can put that closer to a reality. We appreciate any financial contributions you can make, or sharing/re-posting across social media platforms. 

Feel free to visit us on Facebook @CHIPsouthflorida or contact [email redacted] for more information or questions.

Donations

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  • Donna Weinberger 
    • $15 
    • 2 d
  • Kyle Krakow 
    • $10 
    • 4 d
  • Flavia Franco 
    • $10 
    • 5 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $320 
    • 5 d
  • Alexander Brunner 
    • $25 
    • 6 d
See all

Fundraising team: South Florida Activist Fund (4)

Noam Brown 
Organizer
Raised $115 from 3 donations
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Claire Grossman 
Team member
Raised $530 from 11 donations
Nicole Morse 
Team member
Raised $195 from 8 donations
Dami Feral 
Team member
Raised $105 from 4 donations
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