Officials working to protect those inside Indiana prisons and jails

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Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 21:59:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An effort is underway to help protect people in prisons and jails across the state.

Earlier this week the ACLU of Indiana filed a petition with the Indiana Supreme Court asking for certain groups of people in correctional facilities to be released. It's a move designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19 inside institutions where social distancing is impossible.

"It's very alarming that all of this is going on and basically nothing is being done about it," a woman whose son is incarcerated in a state prison said. "I am scared. I am really, really scared."

The woman asked not to be identified but said her son is behind bars at an Indiana Department of Correction facility for a non-violent offense.

"The prisoners have nothing to fight this virus where they are," she said. "They are all confined, they all have to go eat together, they have to do everything together, sleep together, everything."

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That's why the ACLU of Indiana is getting involved.

"We are not asking that the doors be unlocked and all prisoners be removed," Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana, said. "We are asking that existing processes be sped up to determine if there are prisoners there who can safely be removed and or who are at high risk of the disease and should for humanitarian reasons be removed."

At a press conference earlier this week, state officials acknowledged receiving a copy of the petition filed by the ACLU. A spokesperson said they are taking all the precautions they can and they will continue to evaluate and adjust as needed.

The mother who spoke to RTV6 said she just hopes her son stays healthy.

"I am scared that he is going to get it and nobody is going to be taking care of him," she said.