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[Press] What Kind of Freedom Is This? From Prison to a COVID-Transformed World

This article from Nonprofit Quarterly published on May 14, 2020 by Debby Warren discusses the issues related to coronavirus in prison and the need to release nonviolent offenders from the jails to decrease the spread of COVID-19. BOSS is mentioned as an organization that offerers reentry services, yet even housing organizations like BOSS are impacted by the pandemic without being able to meet with clients in person.


On its face, it makes perfect sense: Release nonviolent offenders from prisons and jails, both now hotbeds of COVID-19 infection fueled by overcrowding, poor hygiene, and a surfeit of inmates with underlying health conditions. Public health experts agree that decreasing the prison population is the best way to forestall explosive COVID outbreaks in these settings. Fewer inmates mean more space to socially distance and proportionally more cleaning products, medical supplies and PPEs for both prisoners and staff...

Providers of prison reentry services are struggling to adapt, no longer able to meet with clients while still incarcerated to develop a post-release plan, and wrestling with unresponsive corrections officials to schedule phone or video visits. In California’s East Bay Area, the nonprofit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency is searching for funding to open four housing sites in addition to the 15-bed home in East Oakland that they already have. Their gaze is on a 120-unit single-room-occupancy hotel in West Oakland.

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