Champaign County Bailout Coalition Open Letter to County Officials Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Champaign County Bailout Coalition (CCBC), a coalition of groups and individuals in focused on bailing out individuals in our Champaign County jails who cannot afford bail, has released an open letter which we have published below.

Open Letter to Champaign County Officials Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has been rapidly spreading across the U.S. and will be taking an unimaginable toll on the lives of the people with compromised immune systems and tens of millions of Americans unable to make ends meet. Our elected officials must take appropriate measures to protect these and other vulnerable members of our communities.

People incarcerated in jail are one of the most vulnerable populations, and their protection warrants special emergency action. As has been tragically demonstrated by the spread of COVID-19 among inmates in Cook County, jails create extreme risks of contagion among those incarcerated in them. Incarcerated people have an inherently limited ability to fight spread of infectious disease since they are confined in close quarters and unable to avoid contact with people who may have been exposed. Responses such as lock downs, placing people in solitary confinement, and limiting access to visits from loved ones are punitive and ineffective reactions to outbreaks.

The only acceptable response to the threat of COVID-19 is decarceration. In Champaign County’s jails, the overwhelming majority of incarcerated individuals should already be free. Seventy percent of the jails’ total population are awaiting trial and are presumed innocent before the law. Further, most of them are entitled to be released on a bail they can afford and would follow the conditions of their release. Now more than ever, during this unprecedented global health crisis that has already begun claiming the lives of Champaign County community members, the ongoing incarceration of these unconvicted individuals is an absolutely unacceptable public health situation. Their incarceration directly imperils their health and, in the event that the virus spreads beyond the jails’ walls, the entire community’s well-being.

It is imperative that the Champaign County police, state’s attorney, judges, and sheriff join the public health officials to protect the health of our communities, including those incarcerated in jail and in their homes on electronic monitoring. In the interests of public health and safety, we recommend that our local decision-makers follow the below actions with the utmost urgency:

— Individuals over the age of 50 or with compromised immune systems must be immediately released. Research has shown that these individuals are at the highest risk for contracting and experiencing the most serious effects of COVID-19.

— Individuals being held in pretrial detention must immediately be released into the community. Immediate release will be more effective and fiscally responsible for the county to quarantine people as part of the larger general population, and will reduce pressure on county jail medical staff and resources.

— As many incarcerated individuals as possible should be compassionately released. Mental health during the pandemic is an issue for everyone, especially for those who are incarcerated and their families.

— The state’s attorney and prosecutors should use their discretionary authority to dismiss as many cases as can safely be done, avoid imposing multiple charges for each single wrongful act, minimize the severity of penalties they ask for, and suggest the least restrictive release conditions to judges.

— Our local governments should instruct police officers and sheriff’s deputies to take individuals into custody only as a last resort and to replace arrests with citations whenever possible.

— Judges should order the release of individuals on their own recognizance.

— Health care access for anyone remaining in Champaign County’s two jails must be liberally provided and unfettered.

— Access to phone calls and video “visitation” should be free of charge to anyone who remains incarcerated.

— Personal hygiene, cleaning, and sanitation supplies should be made available free of charge to anyone who remains incarcerated. Hand sanitizer and other essential preventative products must be permitted and should not be considered “contraband.”

— The sheriff’s office should immediately change their protocols around electronic monitoring (EM) and home confinement to permit liberal movement (the ability to leave one’s home). The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office should allow for automatically approved movement that enables people on EM to obtain groceries and other supplies, seek medical treatment, collect school meals, and provide elder- and childcare in other households during the pandemic. If courts remain open, appearance at non-essential criminal court dates should be waived to avoid unnecessary travel and social contact.

— Cancellation of court dates should not delay anyone’s release from the Champaign County Jail.

— A moratorium should be placed on “turnarounds,” the process by which someone sentenced to time served must travel to an Illinois Department of Corrections facility to dress in and dress out on the same day. People sentenced to time served should be released directly from the Champaign County Jail.

— Local government and university authorities should use their powers and resources to make accommodations available to those who are released in local hotels, motels, and unoccupied university dorms.

The above petition is endorsed by the following organizations:

Champaign County Bailout Coalition
Believers Bail Out
Illini Hillel
CU Showing Up For Racial Justice
A Way In, NFP
Graduate Employees’ Organization at UIUC, IFT/AFT Local 6300
Socialist Alternative, Champaign-Urbana
CU Courtwatch
Community Justice Collaborative
The Fountain at CIMIC
Central Illinois Mosque
Muslim American Society (MAS) of Urbana-Champaign
Underrepresented Muslim and Minority Advocates
Elliott Counseling Group
Party for Socialism and Liberation, CU Branch
First Mennonite Church
Central Illinois DSA
CU Democratic Socialists of America
Media Justice
UIUC Young Democratic Socialists of America
CU Indivisible
YWCA of the University of Illinois
Bend the Arc: CU
NAACP Champaign County Branch
Champaign Urbana Area Project (CUAP)
Lead for Equity and Engagement LLC
Racial Justice Project of Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign
Peace and Service Committee of U-C Friends Meeting
Black Rose/Rosa Negra – Central IL
Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center

The above petition is endorsed by the following individuals:

Phillip Ernstmeyer
Rebecca Obuchowski
Brian Dolinar
Fionna Ek
Josh Hayn
Kevin Hays
Michael Johnson
Sophie Seidel
Tania Cordova
Julie Nieset
George Hardebeck
Marya Burke
A. Naomi Paik
Phoenix Forbes
Kari A. Lynn
Mark Enslin
Jim Hannum
Rohn Koester
Daniel Gonzalez
April Ayers
Joel Wright
Rebecca Ginsburg
Laurel Nobilette
Hannah Christensen
Benjamin Stone
Joe Omo-Osagie
Rebecca Bott
Lance Pittman
David Cisneros
Amos Lee
Toby Beauchamp
Linda Hernandez
Katie Williams
Wandjell Browning
Rev. Florence Caplow
Melissa Villa
Elliot Schultz
Karla Fischer
Lee Ragsdale
Dana Antonelli
Kelly Halcom
Logan Middleton
Rea Zaimi
Asiah Stallworth
elizaBeth Simpson
Millie Wright
Megan Wallenius
Annette Douglas
Elisabeth Horan
Julie Laut
Deborah S Nall
Elizabeth Kenner
Cope Cumpston
Grace Park
Austin Hoffman
Michelle Awad
Evelyn Reynolds
Ann Quackenbush
Samuel Froiland
Xena Becker
Fauzia Rahman
Lena Walker
Ellen Ritter
Beau Barber
Jenny Paul
Patrick Kimutis
Alana Ackerman
Andrea Herrera
Chelsea Birchmier
Korinta Maldonado
Marci Adelston-Schafer
Waleed Jassim
Sajid Khurram
Cassidy Wagner
Rachel Birchmier
Tammy Bond
Lettycia Terrones
Aleena Khan
Randall Nelson
Douglas K. Jones
Sarah Syed
C.G. Estabrook
Elias Decker
Marium Kureishy
Kayla Stewart
Olivia Butts
Daniela Barbosa
Ian Martin
Matthew Koska
Ahmed Taha
Xavier Oliva
Adrian Wong
Chris Messiner
Kevin Adams
Malaak Yehya
Ahmed Ghanim
Aidan Swinford
Jazz Jomea
Jesann Gonzalez Cruz
Hector Mandel
Ari Kelo
Swiyya Haqq
Ruth Stoltzfus
Ellen Reckamp
Dr Judith Van Cleeff
Alyson Bell
Cynthia LaBoy
Lesley Owens
Stefanie Smith
Cheyenne Miller
Jeanna Campbell
Karen McKenzie
Rebecca Green
Trevor Rickerd
Owen MacDonald
Sandra Ahten
Fatima Rahman
Sheryl Dyck
Lila Ann Dodge
Anne d’Aquino
Tom Anderson
Diane Klock
Colin Dodson
Ciel Baptiste
Alicia Edwards Jackson
Matt Soyland
Karla Sanabria
James Arnold
Stuart Levy
Hannah Ellingson
Rachel Jensen-Schoeps
Lara Orr
Victor Font Bartumeus
Andrea Welty Peachey
Ellen Leyerle
Karla Peterson
Terri Fredrick
Matthew Burack
May Jadallah
Sanja Pudar
Imam Ousmane Sawadogo
Valerie O’Brien
Jessie Fitts
Laurie Jacob
Margaret Johnson
Melissa Minarik
Joseph Minarik
Linden Daniel Galloway
Laura Brenneman-Fullwood
Kat Fuenty
Sarah Syed
Thom Moore
Warren Inskeep
Amanda Ciafone
Jan Sabey
Jesse Phillippe
Simone Sisneros-Thiry
Carmen Baugh
Jackson Teetor
Stacy Gloss
Afifa Chaudhry
Jim Sosnowski
Jailine Santiago
Sharon Lee Monday
Carolyn O’Rourke
Debbie Morgan
Rachel Green
Billy Huff
Jeongsu Shin
Ryan Levy
Siobhan McKissic
Charlotte Prieu
Thomas Day
Donovan Torres
Emily J Moskal
Toby Sirois
MiYanna Stamps
Cassandra Osei
Allan Max Axelrod
Susan Faivre
Albert Stabler
Ann Prisland
Fiona Hartley-Kroeger
Ana Taylor
Katya Kazbek
Clarissa Goebel
Allison Martell
Andrew Smith
B Cronenberg
Justin Weaver
Karen Aram
Paul Nolan
Aaron Umbarger
Jennifer Locke
Courtney Hernandez
Pam Richart
Michael Brun
Sophie McMahan
Ryan Santens
Jan Kalmar
Robert Rennie
Jordan Humphrey
Ashli Anda
Kathryn Oberdeck
Aidan Watson-Morris
Qinglin Luan
Miguel Avalos
Dilara Çalışkan
James Kilgore
Emily Lee
Kristina Beligratis
Kat Graef
Charles Fogelman
Melissa Heil
Ralph Lewis
Dat Luu
John Milano
Jeff Putney
Darrius Stanps
Denise Taylor
Muhammad Yousuf
Jean Peters
Stacy Wykle
Joyce Mast
Abigail Minor
Adrian van der Velde
Tonya Peshel
Kelley Wegeng
Anne Lutomia
Jake Rundall
Thomas Garza
Hugo Trevino
Suzanna Snyder
Ammar Bhutta
Amir Khan
Omar Jadallah
Jack Anderson
River Andres
Elizabeth Matresse
Sunshine Ray Fegett
Celina Trujillo
Sara Hoag
Janet Revell Barrett
Lauren McDaniel
Bronwyn Cain
yael beretta
Katherine Majewski
Debra Erikso
Janet Elaine Guthrie
Tanweer Alam
Cameron Raab
David Sharpe
Anna Barnes
Lee Ann Kelly
Chabeli Duran
Kat Carranza
Beth Ann Williams
Anastasia Rahlin
Veronica Casey
Tariq Khan
Andrea Rundell
Elizabeth Fahey
Sandra Hannum
Cynthia Fisher
Arnoldo Ayala
Gus Wood
Charlee Thompson
Brianne Gutmann
Kim Whittlesey
Chibundo Egwuatu
Belden Fields
Ming Kuo
Jennifer Straub
Nick Schubach
Danielle Weimerskirch
Matthew Klopfenstein
Allison Salisbury
Casey Griffin
Claire Branigan
Rebecca Powell
Tyeese Braslavsky
Nathaniel Forsythe
Tyson Bradford
Dimitri Dounas-Frazer
Marissa Finley
Sabrina Lee
Susan Jones
Samantha Plasencia
Casildo Cuevas
Heba M Khalil
Izma Ahmed
Evelyn Alvarez
Bea Maldonado
Tyler Katz
Lee Bynum
Nicole Arnold
Armando Romero Jr
mo habibullah
Krystal Smalls
Kathryn Clancy
Roshni Bano
Emily Manzo
Jenny L. Davis
Isis Rose
Breanna S. Escamilla
David Mitchell
Noor Doukmak
Chelsea Shaffer
Drew Martin
Olivia Martin
Brian Dunn
Julie Schubach
Taryn Vaughn
Peter Sentz
Patrick East
Melissa Silvester
Noah Berlatsky
Yuki Takauchi
Anastasia Bishop
Gabriel Solis
Elizabeth Dean
Aidan Rivera-Rogers
Monica Salmon Gomez
Olly Greer
Sadia Rahman
Ellen Moodie
Anne Bargar
Siddhartha Peri
Nicholas Adam Daniel
Wesley A. Vermillion
Molly Galloway
Griffin Bonnin Jones
Christian McKinney
Carlos Alanis
Chris Miner
Kit Boatz
Clara Raubertas
Kareem Rogers
Leena Carney
Nicole Malloy
Matthew Strong
Skylar Rolle
Madeleine Wolske
Kim Hubbard
Adam Stephanides
Lauren Funiestas
Abigail Ramirez
Ethan Kuruc
Nick Sennett
Kathleen Lee
Norman Rolle
Cierra Humphrey
Daisy Alreed
Gerardo Caballero
Paul Atienza
Doug Masters
Megan White
Tanya Josek
Donald Necessary
Scott James
Melanie R Sheckels
Christopher Marry
Celia Burke
Alondra Pulido
Jasmine Randle
Andy Lawrence
Peter Henry Dyck
quinn morgan ferris
Nicole Eveland
Margaret Brennan
Jessica Adams
Gregory Kontos
Silvia Soto
Rierson Johnson
Minnie Pearson
Fatima Ahmed
Jennifer Monson
Melissa Villa
Willy-Ann Hoff
Marina Manetti
Cheli Winkler-Groschen
Tesfaye Wolde-Medhin
Saba Manetti-Tesfaye
Samia Suleiman-Ata
Rachel Gushee
David Schrag
Krishna Kalki
Billy Vermillion
Megan Gargiulo
Lily Evangelista
Don McClure Jr.
meice hamad
Sharon Rose Anderson
Matthew Croisant
Lindsey Addams
Debbie Broadrick
Ezgi Guner
Linda Kwon
Abrar Siddiqui
Robert Porter
Benjamin Joselyn
Alexa Tucker
Lois Kain
DeZhane polin
Karen Johnston
Karie Brown-Tess
Amy Hassinger
Susan Becker
Cristal caballero
Russell Busch
Donald D. Owen
Alex Kessler
Tina stone
Emily Blevins
Margaret Waltershausen
Tania Black
Mark Foley
Jane McClintock
Kiri Palm
Anna Mitchell
Clair Irwin
Andrew Bowman
Karthik Kakarala
Kaitlyn DeHaven
Rayven Morrow
Marisa Winegar
Karen Retzer
Kyle Gifford
Coral Lumbley
Thea Kammerling
Haydn Lambert
Zoe Foote
Robert Kirby
Claudia Menanteau
Marc Sleiman
Joann Bosas
Abigail Taylor
Gabe Rodriguez
William Sullivan
Deanna Hence
Kelli McQueen
Andi Lee
Tyler Erickson
Catherine Watkins
Jubal Croegaert
Amina Malik
Isra Rahman
Lily Dawson
Stacey Vassallo
Kara Miller
Sabah Hussain
Nick Goodell
Miriam Larson
Travis Paulson
Paul Mueth
Lucia Maldonado
Dorothy Martirano
Derek Briles
Valeria Nava
Molik thomas
Cynthia Medrano
Paige Rolle
Brittany Sanders
Casey Robards
Rea Zaimi
eleena ahmed

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