Activists call for early release of some York County inmates due to outbreak

A nonprofit advocating for better conditions for Mainers behind bars is calling for the early release of some inmates at the York County Jail due to the facility’s coronavirus outbreak. The Maine CDC confirms 72 cases at the jail involving 46 inmates, 19 staff members and seven close contacts of jail workers. Joseph Jackson, director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, says the group’s board of directors is speaking with attorneys and families of loved ones inside the jail. Jackson says a staffing shortage at the jail, combined with the outbreak, have made conditions inside the jail dangerous for inmates. Granting early releases for inmates not considered safety threats, he believes, would be the safest option for all involved. “People are getting released right now, so if your date was up right now and you were positive, you’re being let back out into the world, so why not let people out prior to them getting positive,” Jackson said. Jackson spent 20 years in prison and has spent years advocating on behalf of incarcerated people on issues such as prison reform and voting.

A nonprofit advocating for better conditions for Mainers behind bars is calling for the early release of some inmates at the York County Jail due to the facility’s coronavirus outbreak.

The Maine CDC confirms 72 cases at the jail involving 46 inmates, 19 staff members and seven close contacts of jail workers.

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Joseph Jackson, director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, says the group’s board of directors is speaking with attorneys and families of loved ones inside the jail.

Jackson says a staffing shortage at the jail, combined with the outbreak, have made conditions inside the jail dangerous for inmates.

Granting early releases for inmates not considered safety threats, he believes, would be the safest option for all involved.

“People are getting released right now, so if your date was up right now and you were positive, you’re being let back out into the world, so why not let people out prior to them getting positive,” Jackson said.

Jackson spent 20 years in prison and has spent years advocating on behalf of incarcerated people on issues such as prison reform and voting.