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Manafort released. But Yusef still locked up. He's served 25 years. Been in since he was 16. He's 41 now. Should have been resentenced 5 years ago. Lost 4 friends already to COVID, now running rampant in Michigan prisons. Highest death toll in country. Why is he still in prison?
Manafort released. But Anthony Swain still jailed pretrial in Miami jail on bail he can't afford. Been there for 3 years. Not convicted. Now positive for COVID. Paraplegic. Now hospitalized. Why is he still in jail?
Manafort released early. But Sue Farrell, who already served 30 years, suffocated to death as friends banged on the cells to get the attention of the guards to no avail. For her, nothing. Why was she still in prison?
Manafort released early due to COVID concerns. But Charles Hobbs DIED early because of COVID. Jailed for failure to update his address on the sex offender registry for decades old crime. He was homeless. No address. Wouldn't release him. Bc no address.
Manafort released early, but Jody Hill, an innocent trans woman imprisoned for 20 years in a male facility in Michigan and subjected to unimaginable horrors & violence still caged. Why is she still in prison?
Manafort released bc of COVID risk. But Andrew Pete cannot breath in Harris County, TX jail. Held pretrial. Coughing uncontrollably. Fevers. Threw him in solitary for complaining. Stands up to sleep to breathe. Snuck out a phone call from jail. His words:
Manafort released. But I've heard voices of women stuck in quarantine, positive for COVID, terrified of dying, who can't get any one's attention. They made a pact that better to risk retaliation and speak out, than die in a cell from this disease. Why are they still in prison?
Manafort released early. But in NY, there are 5000+ people imprisoned right now for technical parole violations. Non-crimes. Like missing curfew. Cuomo won't lift a finger to release them. Why are they still in prison?
Manafort released early. But William Garrison died early. Caged for 44 years for a crime committed at 16. Just weeks away from release. His sister was planning his 61st birthday party. They held onto him until his last breath. His life wasn't worth…
I'm not upset Paul Manafort was released. As always, I'm upset that people who aren't rich, white, & connected (nearly everyone of the millions currently caged) aren't treated with the same care, consideration, or humanity.
Advocates & families across the country, in tandem with medical professionals, have been screaming about the risks of COVID in jails & prisons. Warning that outbreaks were coming unless decisive action was taken. At most, leaders released a handful of people. Zero urgency.
Right now, imagine how scared you are about contracting this virus. The precautions you take. Then think about how, right now, ​millions are trapped in close quarters. No ability to distance. To protect themselves. People are terrified & upset. And we should be too.
Mothers. Fathers. Grandparents. Those whove experienced trauma. Suffer from serious health issues. In poverty. Jailed pretrial on lowlevel offenses & yes, many convicted of serious crimes. No one deserves to be infected by a deadly virus when there is something that can be done.
One challenge of advocating for decarceration: we don't have a central system. The federal system that released Manafort is a very small percentage of the total. And it's run by the architect of mass incarceration, Bill Barr. States & localities is where advocacy has to happen.
Governors & others around the country in a position of power to do something to save lives of those incarcerated have largely fallen back business-as-usual 'tough-on-crime' politics, rather than rational, informed policy. The result: infections, outbreaks, death. More on the way.
So what can you do? Here are some starting places.

1. Last night, advocates, defenders, directly impacted people, & artists launched a powerful series of monologues based on voices of those directly impacted. All tied to local actions. Witness & act:
2. Visit the National Bail Fund Network and give to give people the gift of freedom and health:…
3. Check out this remarkably comprehensive google spreadsheet of national actions, fundraisers, information, mutual aid efforts compiled by the UCLA COVID Behind Bars Data Project. Use it has a guide to act.…
4. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to ignore pleas to grant clemency for the aging and vulnerable prison population in New York. Sign this petition urging him to act and visit:
5. In Michigan, there are 200+ gender non-conforming people caged, none of them in accordance with their Gender Identity. Thousands more medically vulnerable. Please call on @GovWhitmer to use her powers of clemency and release as many people as…
6. In Miami, the outbreak continues unabated. We have a moral calling to our community, which includes people behind jail walls, in the midst of this pandemic. Miami-Dade needs to be #FreeandSafe:…
7. In Tennessee, thousands jailed & imprisoned have tested positive. In Knox County Jail the numbers are alarming. Demand immediate release for those in Knox County Jail:
I'm going to keep this going throughout the day. Need to hop off twitter for a while. Please reply here with additional local actions if interested and I'll try to uplift as soon as I can.
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