Contact: David Safavian                                                                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE American Conservative Union                                                                                                               March 27, 2020 202-347-9388

ACUF Commends York County DA David Sunday for Attempts to “Flatten the Curve” behind Bars

Alexandria, VA – The American Conservative Union Foundation issued a statement today commending York County (PA) District Attorney David Sunday for his actions to protect people who are incarcerated from the spread of COVID-19.

Pat Nolan, the Director of ACUF’s Nolan Center for Justice explained, “Given the risk of Coronavirus spreading through jails and prisons, impacting corrections officers and their surrounding communities along the way, it’s great to see leaders like David Sunday taking proactive measures to keep our most vulnerable populations safe.”

We’re all aware by now that the spread of COVID-19 in the United States constitutes a serious, heightened threat to public health. Health experts have said the only way to slow its spread is to practice social distancing and have heightened sanitary awareness. However, for those in jails and prisons, this much easier said than done.

The close conditions and lack of access to hygiene products in prisons and jails, along with higher rates of underlying health issues for incarcerated individuals, presents a serious health risk for incarcerated persons and correctional staff. The failure to contain and slow the spread of this disease in our jails and prisons creates a serious threat not only to those on the inside, but to the general public at large.

David Safavian, General Counsel of the American Conservative Union commended Sunday by noting, “The guidelines offered in York County are well balanced and should serve as a model for how we can protect our incarcerated population during these unprecedented times. Nobody should be exposed to a death sentence because they are unable to protect themselves from this dangerous virus.”

The proactive movement out of Sunday’s office is consistent with guidance just released by Attorney General Barr, and will ensure our most vulnerable inmates are in the best environment for their health and the safety of all.

Among other things, the guidelines noted that Sunday’s office would be conducting case-by-case reviews of petitions submitted by defense attorneys for early parole, prioritizing requests from elderly inmates and those suffering from chronic medical health conditions. And in an effort to address jail populations, Sunday’s office also began conducting a review of all incarcerated individuals pending trial, to see if bail can be safely modified to allow for healthier conditions of supervision.

“David Sunday deserves praise for recognizing the importance of protecting our incarcerated population from the dangerous spread of the coronavirus,” Safavian continued. “If the virus won’t stop at the prison gate, neither should efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ for the population inside.”

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