Media Contact

April 17, 2020


The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY Legal Fellow Aaron Tucek:

“A sad milestone was announced in Kentucky this evening: the first death of an incarcerated person known to be caused by COVID-19. Governor Beshear announced today that a person incarcerated at Green River Correctional Complex died as a result of the disease. We send our condolences to this Kentuckian’s family members and loved ones. People who live and work in Kentucky’s jails and prisons should not be forced to face unnecessary risk of death and disease.

We, the Department of Public Advocacy, The Bail Project, Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice, have been sounding the alarm for weeks about the unique and grave risks incarcerated people and corrections employees face during the novel coronavirus pandemic. As the tragedy at Green River Correctional Complex shows, corrections officers and other staff are also highly vulnerable. The risk goes beyond the walls of Kentucky’s jails and prisons. Employees return home each night, and can unintentionally carry the virus back to their families and communities.

Department of Corrections officials and others in the criminal legal system have the power to mitigate the risks presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic. We urge officials, from the local level to the Governor, to immediately take the steps outlined in this letter to reduce jail and prison populations. We especially urge the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board to immediately act to reduce the number of people living in crowded and unsanitary conditions by following the recommendations the Department of Public Advocacy provided weeks ago. Time is of the essence. Further delay will result in death.”

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