Community Stakeholders Demand Broward County Officials Take Action to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Jails

Community Stakeholders Demand Broward County Officials Take Action to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Jails

Nonprofit organizations and community leaders unite to advocate for the health and safety of those in jail in the fight against the coronavirus.

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 02, 2020) –

Community stakeholders signed a letter to Broward County officials on Thursday warning that an outbreak of COVID-19 in correctional facilities would create a public health disaster for citizens across South Florida. 

The letter pointed to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States Attorney General, and other authorities in recommending immediate decarceration and safety measures in jail and prison environments.

Even as this letter was published, two inmates in the Broward County Jail tested positive for COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus), further increasing the urgency for policy change.  This is in addition to the four jail employees who have already contracted the coronavirus.

The letter outlined a series of proactive steps that must be taken to protect the incarcerated, jail staff, and members of the community.

As a hotspot for coronavirus activity in the nation, Broward County has reported over 1,348 cases, ranking it the second highest count in the state.  This is only the beginning, as estimates by all medical and scientific experts show an exponential growth in infection rates around the world.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is ill-equipped to handle an outbreak of this magnitude and severity and houses in its jails some of the most medically vulnerable members of our society.

Lives of Broward County citizens are put at risk as officials refuse to enact the commonplace measures outlined in the letter.  We call on them to create immediate reform in the face of this pandemic crisis.


Community Groups:
Chainless Change, Inc.
ACLU of Florida
ACLU of Florida, Broward Chapter
Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward
Broward Dream Defenders
Broward Young Black Progressives
Broward Young Democrats
Change Comes Now
Community Based Connections, Inc.
Davis Legal Center
Florida Cares
Florida Justice Center
Forging Alliances, Inc.
Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees
Kids Always 1st
Minority Builders Coalition, Inc.
OIC of South Florida
Positive Peer Mentoring
Ruth’s List Broward County
South Florida Reentry Task Force
Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund
Women’s March Florida-Broward Chapter

Community Leaders:
Joe Kimok, President, Broward Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Sabrina Javellana, Vice-Mayor of Hallandale Beach
Alissa Schafer, Supervisor, Broward County Soil and Water
Brian C. Johnson, Vice Mayor of West Park
Emma Collum, Attorney and Supervisor, Broward County Soil and Water
Harold Pryor, Corporate Counsel, Hotwire Communications
Julie Fishman, Commissioner of Tamarac
Jasmen Rogers-Shaw, Activist
Josh Rydell, Vice-Mayor of Coconut Creek
Joshua Simmons, Commissioner of Coral Springs
Marlon D. Bolton, Vice Mayor of Tamarac
Michael Gottlieb, State Representative District 98
Mike Gelin, Commissioner of Tamarac
Nancy Metayer, Environmental Scientist
Oscar J. Braynon, State Senator District 35
Ruby Green, Broward County Public Defender
Shevrin Jones, State Representative District 101


A copy of the letter can be seen below or downloaded from:


Florida Justice Center is the state’s only legal aid organization dedicated to helping people with justice-involvement. Authorized by the Florida Supreme Court, FLJC works to lower the effects of an arrest through free and low-cost legal services, as well as connections to community service providers.

With a mission to empower individuals by providing legal support, community education, and removing barriers to success caused by the criminal justice system, FLJC succeeds in helping thousands of individuals each year.