CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) announced in a press release that it is joining a national call to halt juvenile incarceration amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The release stated that in a letter to Governor Jim Justice, ALCU-WV and the National Juvenile Justice Network outlined numerous concerns they had about 50,000 some minors being locked up in “crowded, unsanitary conditions.”
The release stated that research has shown that incarcerated populations are among the most at-risk populations during a public health crisis.
According to the release, the letter urges Governor Justice to publicly share an emergency response plan and to adopt measures to protect youth in the state, including the following suggestions:
- Immediately halt new admissions to juvinile detention
- Remove youth who have COVID-19 symptoms; chronic illnesses such as asthma or diabetes; other serious illnesses; or who are in need of medical care
- Eliminate any form of detention or incarceration for youth unless a determination is made that a youth is a substantial and safety risk to others.
To read ALCU-WV’s letter in its entirety, click here.
The letter was sent to the governor last week, and it is unknown at this time if the Governor’s Office has issued an official response.