Our Jaws of Justice Radio Hour for April 27 will begin with a live interview of Lauren Bonds by host Craig Lubow. Lauren is the Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas. She will be talking about the lawsuit the Kansas ACLU filed in early April 2020 that asks the Court to compel the State to protect Kansas inmates from Covid19 and to act quickly. The ACLU of Kansas filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of people imperiled by dangerous conditions inside ill-equipped and overcrowded state prisons amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
“When inmates who are over 50 and suffering from diabetes or Hep C are forced to stand, sleep and eat within six feet of other inmates, we are literally putting people’s lives at risk,” said ACLU Legal Director Lauren Bonds. “This is an emergency situation requiring urgent action.”
The suit asks the court to grant the release of people who would otherwise find themselves exposed to the deadly virus. The Petitioners also have proposed the appointment of a Master to oversee the expedited release, to “reduce inmate populations within correctional centers and facilities, while preserving Respondents’ ability to object to the release of specific inmates.” It also seeks appropriate support and release conditions, the immediate release of those within 18 months of release or are serving sentences for minor offenses, and the implementation of appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures to protect all other incarcerated individuals from COVID-19 in compliance with CDC guidance. “If this Court does not grant immediate relief on the basis of this Petition,” the lawsuit reads, “Petitioners request a hearing as soon as possible. Given the exponential spread of COVID-19, there is no time to spare.”
In the second half of our program; host Margot Patterson will interview Miriam Krinsky, Founder and Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP). FJP brings together newly elected local prosecutors as part of a network of leaders committed to promoting a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility. She will talk about the need for early prison release because of the coronavirus pandemic. Miriam will discuss why prison release is important not only for the health of those housed in jails and prisons but for the good of society.
Changes have long been sought by progressives and activists who decry the fact that the United States incarcerates more people, per capita, than any other country — primarily through plea deals that prevent 98% of the incarcerated population from ever facing a jury of their peers.
The pandemic is forcing a reset button in the criminal justice system. As the deadly coronavirus has spread rapidly around the world, skyrocketing caseloads and an emphasis on social distancing have led even traditionally “tough on crime” law enforcement officials to reconsider the value of caging people in cramped facilities with few health care resources. Miriam Krinsky has led calls to reduce the incarcerated population and she says the changes taking place will be hard to reverse when the pandemic eventually ends. “This is forcing a reset button in the criminal justice system,” Krinsky said. “When the pandemic ends, we may find that we have a new normal.”
The old normal seems to be fading fast.
Calendar for the week of April 27th:
In compliance with the local instruction, all live meetings are suspended until the all clear is given by the Mayor.
- All Corey’s Network activities, meetings, vigils, and fundraisers have been canceled. When they resume normal activities, we will pass them on to you. The Mission of Corey’s Network is to provide immediate services to families surviving homicide. See Corey’s Network on Facebook or their website, coreysnetwork.org.
- More2 asks us to join one of their phonebanks to check on our neighbors in Kansas and Missouri! Phonebanks are on TUES, 4/28 from 9 AM – Noon or THURS, 4/30 from 4-7 PM. Training is provided! If you have questions you may contact Gary@more2.org or 913-250-7330.
- TUES, April 28, noon EASTERN TIME will be a Facebook and Twitter live event discussion with Stacey Abrams, Politician, sponsored by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. RSVP at momsdemandaction on Facebook.
- THURS, April 30, at 7 – 10 PM The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center invites you to Take Back the Night, an annual solidarity event for survivors of trauma and abuse and those who want to take a stand against rape culture. Due to social distancing guidelines set in place for the Coronavirus outbreak, they have adjusted to an online format instead of the traditional rally in Lawrence KS. There will be online content available with support from local musicians and community members. They ask the community to join in lighting a candle at 8:00 PM in solidarity and support for survivors.
- Online Candidate Forum – Missouri Candidates, will be THURS, April 30, 6 – 8 PM sponsored by Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus. You can hear from Missouri candidates before online voting, which begins May 1st to May 7th. see zoom invitation at Indivisible KC.
- EmpowerMissouri’s Smart Sentencing Coalition (SSC) is comprised of organizations and individuals all working towards a Missouri that is smart on crime instead of tough on crime. All are welcome to join the coalition, Join the call this week FRI, May 1, 11 AM, if you’re able! Please dial (929)205-6099 and use access code 194570677# to join the call! More info at EmpowerMissouri.org
- 3rd Annual Word To Ya Motha Poetry Slam & Music Showcase hosted by Reale Justice Network will be FRI, May 1, from 7 – 8:30 PM. This is a Facebook live event, raising funds to bail mamas out of jail and offer support services to keep them out. See on Facebook.
- A list of services, meals, and hot lines are available at lawrenceprogressivecalendar.blogspot.com. It is updated daily.
Please take care of yourselves and others. Thanks to all our listeners, stay close to your dial and stay well!
Please listen next week, our show will feature host Elisa Breitenbach and guests discuss the Curtis Scott Hanson case.