ACLU protests Ducey’s coronavirus prison policy with mock body bags
PHOENIX — As Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was announcing the extension of his stay-at-home order on Wednesday, members of the ACLU of Arizona were outside protesting his refusal to send inmates home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the civil liberties organization gathered outside of the Arizona Commerce Authority Conference Center to show their frustration with Ducey’s policies by displaying fake body bags and holding up signs.
“People are starting to die in prison of COVID-19,” ACLU of Arizona Smart Justice Campaign Manager Ruben Lucio said in a press release on Wednesday.
“It is impossible to social distance in prison and inadequate health care has plagued these facilities for years.”
The ACLU of Arizona sent Ducey a letter on April 16 requesting he issue an executive order that allowing some incarcerated individuals to return home to their families.
The request stipulated that the organization wanted Ducey to release only those incarcerated individuals who are not a threat to public safety.
The letter also included requests for correctional facilities to administer more aggressive health and safety measures and also provide more information regarding inmates and the coronavirus.
Ducey has not responded to the letter.
“A prison sentence shouldn’t mean a death sentence,” Lucio added.
“Gov. Ducey can and should act now to prevent future deaths and bring people home who have loved ones worried for them and ready to care for them.”
A 79-year-old man with lung cancer became the second inmate in Arizona’s prisons to die from COVID-19, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The first was a 64-year-old inmate who was being treated at a Tucson hospital.