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REFORM Alliance in partnership with Virginia COVID-19 Equity Leadership Task Force donates thousands of masks to every incarcerated person and correctional staff

This update was published by Communications
Published: July 6, 2020

~ REFORM contributed 170,000 masks to local, regional, and state correctional facilities~

RICHMOND – The REFORM Alliance partnered with the Virginia COVID-19 Equity Leadership Task Force to give 85,000 three-ply FDA approved surgical masks to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) and 85,000 masks to local and regional jail facilities. Every person who is incarcerated and every jail and correctional facility staff in Virginia will receive two masks. 

“I am grateful for the REFORM Alliance’s generous support and dedication to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities throughout Virginia, and in prisons and jails across the country,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “As the Commonwealth continues to reopen and restrictions are lifted, all people should continue to wear masks to stay safe and healthy.”

“We can’t defeat COVID-19 until we defeat it inside of our prisons and jails,” said REFORM Alliance Chief Advocacy Officer  Jessica Jackson. “These masks will help protect incarcerated people and corrections staff, including security officers, law enforcement, health services, and administrative personnel from the virus and keep surrounding communities safe. We extend our deepest thanks to Governor Northam, and his administration for working with us on this donation.”

This week, 170,000 donated masks were received by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) logistics warehouse. VDEM has been instrumental in making sure these personal protective equipment are delivered to VADOC and the jails. 85,000 masks have been delivered to VADOC which will be promptly distributed to each of the over 40 state facilities and 85,000 masks will be dispersed to the local and regional jails and sheriff’s offices. Almost 83,000 individuals will benefit from this donation.

“The Equity Leadership Task Force is dedicated to serving vulnerable populations and those at elevated risk for contracting COVID-19, which includes those who reside and work in correctional facilities,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. “ In this way, our partnership with REFORM Alliance is a great example of how the Commonwealth of Virginia is emerging as a case study for the nation in how to address equity, even during a crisis. Thus, we are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all members of our state and recognize the importance of providing this life saving PPE to those incarcerated and the correctional workforce, who don’t have the privilege for social distancing.”

“We know that congregate settings have presented unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these masks will certainly support our efforts to slow the spread of the virus,” said VDEM State Coordinator Curtis Brown. “This collaboration is critical to ensure all of the people who are incarcerated in Virginia and those who work at these facilities have sufficient personal protective equipment.”

To learn more about the on-going efforts of the Equity Leadership Task Force and ways vulnerable communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia are being prioritized, click here.

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