Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)



August 17, 2020

[TWIN CITIES, MN, August 2020] -- Supporters of the Decarcerate Minnesota Coalition will gather August 17, 10:00 am in the parking lot of the Department of Corrections at 1450 Energy Park Drive in St. Paul, MN to once more ask DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell to meet their demands for releasing a significant number of Minnesota prisoners impacted by COVID-19.

Decarcerate MN began meeting with Commissioner Schnell in August 2019 to highlight the high numbers of people in Minnesota prisons who have not committed any crime. People incarcerated on “technical violations” of parole have served their time, been released into communities, and then sent back to prison for mistakes and barriers ranging from missed appointments, to treatment lapses, to struggling with structural barriers to stable housing or employment.

Prisoners have reported facing punishment, loss of privileges for not returning to work, often under unsanitary conditions, even though the DOC says prisoners have a right to not work during COVID-19. Punitive administrative segregation rules are applied to people who want or need to self-quarantine.

Citing the $41,366 per year per person cost to taxpayers of incarceration, Decarcerate emphasizes the positive impact on community needs, were these funds to be redirected to initiatives for housing, employment, health care, and addiction treatment.

Our ask has been consistent and achievable - Release those serving time on technical violations, medically compromised prisoners, and those eligible for work release so that those who remain behind bars can meaningfully social distance and stop the spread of COVID.

The rally will follow social distancing guidelines, with participants spaced 6 feet apart and asked to wear masks.

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