Letter to the Editor: NAACP awaits response to letter from Gov. Carney

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up letter sent to Gov. John Carney by Richard Smith, president of Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches. As of Monday afternoon, Mr. Smith said the organization hadn’t received a response from Gov. Carney.

Dear Gov. Carney,

We are writing in furtherance of our April 15, 2020, letter to you regarding the impact of COVID-19 in minority and disenfranchised communities throughout Delaware.

The Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches is gravely concerned about what has been reported in the public press relative to decisions concerning the safety of inmates within the Delaware Corrections System. We believe that the decision to disallow inmates to wear masks is fundamentally unfair, inhuman, and in violation of guidelines from the CDC and in fact, Delaware’s very own guidelines. Furthermore, we disagree with the notion that emergency release of inmates, who meet certain standards, is not necessary in that the largest Delaware prison has begun to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak. Both decisions are undeniably unsafe, and no doubt will ultimately lead to unnecessary sickness and death.

It is for these reasons that we are requesting that you:

1. Respond to this letter, as well as our April 15, 2020 letter, on or before 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 18, 2020.

2. Reverse the decisions made by the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections to disallow inmates to wear masks and disallow early release of medically vulnerable, elderly, and non-violent offenders as set forth in our April 15, 2020, letter to you.

3. Convene a virtual Zoom meeting with the officers of the Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches to discuss, in further detail, the key areas of concern outlined within our letters.

Please know that the NAACP will not idly stand by and allow these issues, which are matters of life and death, to go unaddressed.

Richard Smith
Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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