FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY Smart Justice Field Organizer Amanda Hall regarding the novel coronavirus and incarceration:
“In the wake of the novel coronavirus, the ACLU of Kentucky is asking judges and prosecutors to release people who are incarcerated only because they cannot afford to pay bail. These Kentuckians are presumed to be innocent and have not been convicted on the charges that got them there. They remain locked in jails and prisons as their cases move through the system simply because they cannot afford to buy their freedom.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has asked all state courts to cancel non-emergency hearings until April 10, 2020. These new court delays will force Kentuckians who cannot afford to pay bail to remain incarcerated for several additional weeks. People who are incarcerated are unable to practice social-distancing and other health safety measures to protect themselves from Covid-19. They will also be separated from their families just as thousands of children and their parents are preparing for schools to close.
Releasing people who are in Kentucky’s jails and prisons only because they cannot afford to pay bail will protect the health of incarcerated people, corrections employees, and the greater Commonwealth. No person should ever have to purchase their freedom, especially during a public health emergency. We encourage people to ask Governor Beshear to recommend local judges and prosecutors release these needlessly incarcerated Kentuckians.”