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COVID-19: Decarceration

COVID 19: Decarceration

Masks, social distancing, and diligent hand washing have become the new norm in the era of COVID-19. But for many, following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread is nearly impossible. That’s the case for people in jails, prisons, and detention facilities which are now understood to be major hotspots for the virus. And that’s why advocates, public health officials, and public defenders are calling for decarceration-- reducing the number of people held in jails, prisons, and detention facilities-- as a strategy to flatten the curve and prevent massive outbreaks among people who are already vulnerable to the virus. In this episode, we hear from decarceration advocates, the Director of the Missouri Public Defender System, and the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis about what can be done to reduce the number of people held in jails, prisons, and detention facilities, what’s at stake for public health and public safety if no changes are made, and how courts and jails have shifted their operations during the pandemic.

Decarceration Advocates: Jae Shepherd, Inez Bordeaux, Blake Strode
From left to right: Jae Shepherd, Inez Bordeaux, and Blake Strode (not pictured: Mary Fox and Judge Jimmie Edwards)

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Jia Lian Yang holds both a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary. She is the co-founder of the St. Louis-based Who Raised You? podcast, which explores culture and family with a focus on stories from people of color. The show won the Arts & Education Council of St. Louis’ 2018 stARTup competition. And this year, St. Louis Magazine’s editors named it the best local podcast.
Lauren Brown is a 2019 graduate of The University of Missouri where she studied Journalism and Social Justice. At Mizzou, Lauren was a host and producer at KBIA 91.3fm an NPR affiliate, and an outreach team member for the Columbia Missourian. Lauren was the host and producer of an APM Reports documentary, Black At Mizzou: Confronting race on campus which aired on August 14, 2020.

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