100 signatures reached
To: AG William Barr
Attorney General William Barr: Please Urgently Expand COVID-19 Prisoner Release Policies
The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system, recently exposed the racially biased a computerized algorithm PATTERN — a rating system used by AG William Barr to determine which federally incarcerated persons are considered "non-violent." Barr must drastically expand the provisions limiting the release of Black and brown federally incarcerated persons and stop the use of PATTERN immediately.
Why is this important?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 7 percent of Black men in federal prisons would be considered low-risk enough to get out using PATTERN—compared with 30 percent of white men. Additionally, Justice Department policy excludes non-citizens convicted of immigration-related offenses from serving out their time at home.
Barr’s use of PATTERN is unacceptable and unethical as it excludes some of the most vulnerable groups from release. At a minimum, Barr must reconsider incarcerated people with immigration-related offenses, low-level drug offenses, compromised immune systems, 12 months or less left on their sentence, and pregnant people who fear for the health and safety of their unborn children. These requests are in line with steps that have already been taken in other localities across the country in recognition of the unique vulnerability incarcerated people and correctional staffs have to the spread of COVID-19.
As facilities, institutions and businesses across the country are doing their due diligence to #flattenthecurve and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, correctional facilities in the United States are still dealing with the issue of overcrowding. It is nearly impossible to practice social distancing in federal prisons, which exposes incarcerated people and prison staff to infection.
The PATTERN risk assessment algorithm had never been fully tested or independently reviewed before put to use. Allowing an algorithmic system founded upon predominantly white databases to make human decisions puts people of color at a higher risk of mistreatment than their white counterparts.
Please sign this petition to urge Barr to eliminate the barrier of race in the home confinement selection process and ensure that federally incarcerated Black and brown people are not disproportionately subjected to the inevitable spread of the coronavirus.