Frazier v. Kelley:
LDF Files Complaint against Arkansas Officials Allowing COVID-19 to Decimate Prisons

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), ACLU of Arkansas, Disability Rights Arkansas, and law firm Squire Patton Boggs filed an emergency complaint against Governor Asa Hutchinson over outbreaks of COVID-19 within Arkansas’ state prisons, which disproportionately incarcerate Black individuals.

 

Recent reports state that Cummins Unit, a state prison, had 600 confirmed COVID-19 infections—only nine days after the first prisoner tested positive in that facility.

Many of Arkansas’ correctional facilities are located in Southeast Arkansas, which has the highest concentration of Black residents in the state. Jefferson County, which has a population that is 57.1% Black, is located near three major correctional facilities and has the third highest number of COVID-19 infections in the state. The state government’s failure to address the outbreaks put larger communities, which are disproportionately Black, at a significant risk.

Arkansas disproportionately incarcerates Black people, who are already more vulnerable to COVID-19, placing them at even greater risk for infection in crowded, unsanitary facilities. Arkansas must immediately enact changes to mitigate infection risks in its prisons – and stop carelessly putting inmates’ lives and health at risk.

Jin Hee Lee, Senior Deputy Director of Litigation, LDF

Documents

Partnering Organizations

Disability Rights Arkansas

ACLU of Arkansas

Squire Patton Boggs

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