Baker Spars With Pressley, Rollins Over Coronavirus in Correctional Facilities


Nov 11, 2020
NBC 10
By Mary Markos

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins argued that jails and prisons are “petri dishes” for COVID-19 spread

Gov. Charlie Baker insisted that Massachusetts’ Department of Correction is doing a “terrific job” keeping coronavirus under control Tuesday, despite arguments from Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins that prisons act as “petri dishes” for spreading it.

“They’ve done a terrific job of keeping prisoners and inmates separated, providing them with PPE, sanitization, all that sort of stuff, instructions and guidance about how to avoid spreading the virus, and the numbers have shown it,” Baker said Tuesday.

But both Pressley and Rollins contest that social distancing “behind the wall” is virtually impossible. They joined a chorus of public health experts and criminal justice advocates and, outside the Massachusetts State House Tuesday, called on Baker to release people from prison.

“The COVID-19 pandemic does not need to be a death sentence for the individuals and staff in our state jails and prisons,” Pressley said. “But without intervention it will be unless Governor Baker uses his power to stop it.”

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