With jails and prisons struggling to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay, on Wednesday (April 22), Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation and REFORM Alliance announced plans to curb the issue by donating 100,000 surgical masks.
“We teamed up with @Madonna @PairOfThieves @bailproject and @cut_50 to secure 100k MORE MASKS FOR PEOPLE BEHIND BARS,” REFORM Alliance tweeted. “We need to stop #COVID19 from spreading inside of prisons if we want to stop it from spreading outside of prison walls, too #NoPrisonPandemic.”
The lofty donation will include a distribution of 50,000 masks for the Cook County Jail and the Illinois Department of Corrections. An additional 20,000 will be heading to the Louisiana Department of Corrections, while the remaining 30,000 will head over to Vacaville Prison in California, FCI Ray Brook in New York, and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts.
“More than 2 million lives in prisons across America are currently at stake due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” REFORM co-chair Michael Rubin said in a press release. “It’s absolutely crucial that we protect our inmates and prison staff, especially since social distancing guidelines are difficult to abide by in these facilities. REFORM remains committed to protecting one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, many of whom are currently incarcerated for technical probation violations (not committing a crime), and we’re grateful for the support of our partners in this endeavor.”
Earlier this month, REFORM provided 100,000 masks to Rikers Island, the Tennessee Department of Corrections, and the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss.