As you can imagine, these are particularly stressful times for our clients. People in prison worry about living in such close quarters with the threat of contracting the virus. They also worry that the shutdown will extend their fight for exoneration and keep them in prison for even longer. People on the outside who have been exonerated or are still fighting to prove their innocence worry about making rent and buying food.
Our team is working hard to help. Some of the steps we are taking include:
- Speaking with our incarcerated clients regularly to see how they are coping in prison with the threat of COVID19 and advocating for medical care when needed.
- Providing support and resources to exonerees through regular phone calls by our social worker.
- Holding our bi-weekly peer-facilitated exoneree support group via remote access, which participants have told us they find incredibly important to their wellbeing.
- Providing the limited financial support we are able to for exonerees who are living in low income households and have no or little income since losing jobs because of the virus shutdown.
- Providing legal representation to exonerate people who are wrongly convicted and are often serving long sentences. This includes electronically court filings and working with other attorneys, district attorneys, and judges via conference calls.
- Teaching remotely to all of our students throughout the Commonwealth, as well as organizing remote work for our legal and undergraduate interns.
- Making efforts to secure reprieve for innocent people still waiting in prison for their freedom; they will be able to quarantine at home and then return to the prison system when it is safe to finish their cases.
We hope that you and your loved ones are all safe, healthy, and able to take the necessary precautions to protect your community.
Thank you for sharing our mission and please stay in touch.