Twitter’s Jack Dorsey gives $10 million to coronavirus prison relief effort

Greg Nash

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is giving $10 million to the Reform Alliance that will be used to deliver protective equipment and coronavirus relief aid to prisons and jails across the U.S.

The Reform Alliance, which was founded by rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z, and is currently run by Van Jones, has been pushing lawmakers to reduce incarcerations during the pandemic, warning that jails and prisons have become hot spots for the spread of the coronavirus.

“I’m grateful REFORM exists,” Dorsey said. “The criminal justice system needs to change. COVID-19 adds to the injustices, and REFORM is best suited to help.” 

Dorsey has pledged $1 billion of his fortune to funding a global coronavirus relief effort using the hashtag #startsmall.

The Reform Alliance said it will use the money to purchase and deliver more than 10 million masks and other personal protective equipment to prisons in all 50 states for use by incarcerated individuals, correctional officers and other personnel working in the criminal justice system.

The group says that of the top 10 COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S., eight are linked to prisons and jails, including one at the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, where more than 80 percent of the prison population — about 2,200 inmates — have been infected. 

The Reform Alliance has proposed releasing elderly, sick and incarcerated individuals who do not represent a public safety threat to home confinement during the outbreak. They’re also asking for courts to suspend jail sentences for technical violations, such as missed appointments or unpaid fines, to reduce the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. during the outbreak.

On Monday, Dorsey and other influential figures on social media will share the Reform Alliance’s public service announcement about how the coronavirus has ravaged the prison population.

“This generous donation from Jack and #startsmall is an absolute game-changer,” Jones said. “Not only will this gift help us protect millions from the threat of COVID-19, but this level of support from a tech titan marks a turning point for the criminal justice reform movement. It’s truly an honor to call Jack an ally in this fight, be able to provide masks to every prison in America and potentially save tens of thousands of lives.”

Tags Coronavirus

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