PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia native Meek Mill and his criminal justice reform organization are sending thousands of surgical masks to inmates and staff at correctional facilities across the country to help against the spread of COVID-19. The REFORM Alliance announced Friday they are giving away about 100,000 surgical masks.
The masks are being distributed to inmates and staff at Rikers Island jail complex, Rikers’ medical facility in New York, the Tennessee Department of Corrections and to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.
“Governors and people who run jails and prisons in this country need to take the pandemic in Rikers as a warning,” REFORM Alliance CEO Van Jones said. “We’re in danger of seeing prisons coast-to-coast turn into morgues. It is important to get medical supplies in, and it is equally important to get more human beings out. REFORM Alliance is working on both.”
The initiative comes as prisons and jails are facing unprecedented challenges due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. To date, hundreds of incarcerated individuals, correctional officers, and other staff across the U.S. have tested positive for the virus.