The spread of COVID-19 is a crisis, and it will take many of us working together to respond appropriately, effectively, and fairly. The ACLU of Georgia is monitoring the situation to ensure a response that is scientifically justified and no more intrusive upon civil liberties than absolutely necessary.
Above all, the ACLU of Georgia believes:
- Any coronavirus response should be grounded in science and public health, and not be politicized.
- Any response plan must protect the health, safety, and civil liberties of all.
- State leaders should encourage voluntary compliance with self-isolation measures as much as possible.
- If leaders want to be effective in limiting the transmission of coronavirus, they will need to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable people in our society.
People in jail are highly vulnerable to outbreaks of contagious illnesses. State and local law enforcement including the attorney general, district attorneys, and local police should reduce the number of people in state custody in order to prevent the virus from entering a prison or jail.
The ACLU of Georgia is very concerned about the impact of COVID-19/the coronavirus in Georgia’s jails, prisons, and youth detention centers.
It is frequently difficult for incarcerated individuals to report problems behind bars to those outside. With COVID-19, it will be even more difficult. For that reason, the ACLU of Georgia encourages families, loved ones, facility staff, and others to report to our email hotline, firstname.lastname@example.org, any problems, concerns, observations, and other helpful information as it relates to COVID-19 in Georgia’s jails, prisons, and youth facilities. Collecting this information will allow ACLU of Georgia staff to monitor developing trends and learn about systemic problems and shortfalls.
Nobody should be afraid to seek medical care for fear of immigration enforcement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stated that it does not conduct enforcement operations at medical facilities, except under extraordinary circumstances. In addition, ICE should halt immigration detentions to limit the spread of the virus in jails and detentions centers and to limit the hardships that the virus causes for immigrant communities.
In order to encourage all people to cooperate with health officials and public health guidelines, government and employers must ensure that people are protected from job loss and economic hardship.
Government and employers must provide social and economic protection including strong paid family and medical leave policies and income support.
We will update this page as the situation develops.