NEW YORK — Rapper and activist Common went into quarantine concerned about incarcerated people he has met during visits to jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers around the U.S. and who aren’t able to maintain social distance or adopt rigorous hygiene routines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s a troubling time for them,” Common said, “because they are the people who usually are overlooked.”
On Wednesday, his criminal justice reform organization Imagine Justice launched a campaign with dozens of advocacy and activist groups calling attention to the threat that the coronavirus pandemic poses on millions of men, women and youths who are incarcerated in the U.S.
The campaign, dubbed #WeMatterToo, is urging authorities to immediately release people who have served the vast majority of their sentences, especially if they have existing health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Although state and local correctional institutions have already released thousands of people from confinement due to the pandemic, supporters of the campaign also want governments to pay for testing and housing for inmates after they are released.