The ACLU of Idaho’s mission is to protect civil rights and liberties. The spread of COVID-19 does not change that. We have been following what is happening around Idaho because of COVID-19. We have sent letters to the Governor, the Idaho Department of Correction and Department of Juvenile Corrections, as well as jails, sheriffs, police, and judges asking them to immediately release people from jails and prisons, to stop arresting people and putting them in jail, and to protect people that are most likely to contract the virus. These people include working people, immigrants and those involved in the criminal legal system.
The ACLU of Idaho believes:
- Any COVID-19 response should be based in science and public health
- Any response plan must protect the health, safety, and civil liberties of all
- State leaders should ask that people stay home as much as possible
- Leaders need to help the most vulnerable people in our society if they want to help stop the virus from spreading
People in jails, prisons, juvenile jails, and state hospitals
People in jail and prison have a high risk of getting ill. State and local law leaders should release people to help stop the virus from getting into a prison or jail.
Call our state’s leaders and urge them to immediately release as many people as possible. Ask them to also immediately stop arresting people and putting them in jail.
Governor Brad Little: 208-334-2100
Idaho Supreme Court: 208-334-2210
Also call your local sheriff, county commissioners, and mayor. Look up their numbers on the web.
Look below for more information to share with your loved ones in prisons, jails, juvenile jails, and state hospitals.
Nobody should be afraid to seek medical care because they are afraid of being arrested. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says that it will not arrest people at medical clinics. The ACLU has asked that ICE halt detentions to limit the spread of the virus in jails and detentions centers.
By March 27, 2020, there is a halt on most evictions in Idaho until April 15, 2020. The Idaho Supreme Court issued an emergency order. Only evictions about drugs in the rental should proceed.
The ACLU of Idaho joined many others in demanding a halt to evictions statewide. Forcing people out of their homes while there is a stay-at-home order defies common sense and public health recommendations.
Some Idaho sheriffs might still be forcing people out of their homes based on eviction orders entered before 3/27/2020. Call your local sheriff and ask these evictions to be put on hold. You can look up your local sheriff’s number on the web.
More information for people in jails and prisons, and their loved ones
We are trying to get state leaders to do the safe and right thing and let people out. We are also trying to get state leaders to stop arresting people and putting them in jails right now. We are asking the Governor and IDOC, plus sheriffs, prosecutors, and police, to keep people safe by getting them and keeping them out of prison and jail.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
To stop the spread of germs, the prison and jail should make sure you are able to do these five things:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you have to touch.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
You can help us keep track of what is happening in jails and prisons right now. Please let us know if you are not able to do any of the five things. Please also let us know if you are having any of these problems:
- Not getting enough soap or sanitizer or hygiene products
- Having to pay for medical care
- Feeling COVID-19 symptoms but not getting screened and tested
- Being housed or having to work with people who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive
- Not being able to talk with family, loved ones, or lawyers
You can let us know about COVID-19 problems in jails and prisons by filing a complaint at https://intake.acluidaho.org, or write to us at:
ACLU of Idaho
P.O. Box 1897
Boise, Idaho 83701
If you are in jail, prison, or a state hospital, be sure to mark your letter “LEGAL MAIL” and “CONFIDENTIAL” inside and out.
You should also talk to your public defender or criminal lawyer and ask them to ask the court to release you because of the Coronavirus.
National ACLU COVID-19 information: https://www.aclu.org/news/topic/covid-19-pandemic-response/
ACLU of Idaho joint letter about COVID-19 and the criminal legal system: https://www.acluidaho.org/en/news/aclu-idaho-and-partners-demand-halt-arrests-and-communities-vulnerable-covid-19-be-released