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ACLU Texas speaks out against governor’s order

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday that he would be issuing an executive order to prevent the release of “dangerous felons” in Texas. With that order now available to the public, ACLU Texas is speaking out against it, saying it “undermines public safety.” At issue is, of course, the health of incarcerated people and those working with them. Recent weeks have seen the release and proposed release of detained people in an effort to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 and having it spread in crowded jails. “Texas has the highest incarceration rate of almost anywhere on the planet. For everyone’s safety, political leaders should be working to reduce the crowded population in prisons and jails that could lead to a potential coronavirus outbreak. Governor Abbott’s executive order puts people and communities in grave danger for infection,”said Sarah Labowitz, policy and advocacy director for the ACLU of Texas, in a statement to the press. “The order allows anyone who can pay bond to go free, while forcing those who can’t to remain in custody, giving preferential treatment to the wealthy. Gov. Abbott needs to rescind his order and align with science-based evidence for how to fight this pandemic, which includes reducing Texas’ population of incarcerated people to avoid the possible steep loss of life.”

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