A lot of talk has taken place in recent months on how the coronavirus has affected society, and those living in it. But one area that hasn’t received the attention it deserves is inside our jails and prisons — and Jamaal Bowman believes the time has come to have those conversations.
“New York state lawmakers have completely failed the people of this state by refusing to hold hearings about how COVID-19 is hurting our incarcerated brothers and sisters,” said Bowman, the Democratic nominee in line to replace Eliot Engel in the U.S. House, in a release.
“When the government does not do its job, we the people must step up and hold them accountable.”
Bowman hosted a “people’s hearing” last week as a way to hear some of the stories facing those who work and reside in such systems. It’s a population that involves 48,000 people in New York alone, and without proper social distancing coupled with overcrowding, prisons and jails have been breeding grounds for COVID-19 spread.
“We have a cruel criminal legal system that we must fight tirelessly to transform,” Bowman said. “But, while we fight to defund the police and end mass incarceration, we have to immediately advocate for the members of our community who are behind bars right now.
“Let’s speak the truth: Jails and prisons were dangerous as hell before COVID-19. And they are even more lethal now.”
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel may be preparing to leave Congress after more than 30 years, but he’s not taking it easy before then.
Engel led the New York congressional delegation in pushing leadership to provide more funding for the state’s public schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our daily lives, and this is especially true with regard to our state’s education system,” Engel said, in a release. “Our teachers and educators did amazing work when the virus first hit, helping our students learn from home. Now it’s time they receive congressional support to ensure they have the resources to teach their students this coming year.”
Funds, Engel said, are needed to prevent layoffs, support remote learning, fund school meals and summer school sessions, provide reimbursement for child care, among others.