Due to the gravity of the current COVID19 situation, the Board of Buddhist Pathways Prison Project (BP3) recommends that all prison programs be temporarily suspended to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
We recommend a two-week suspension of programs initially, with the possibility of a longer suspension depending on how this rapidly changing situation unfolds and the CDCR’s readiness to handle the spread.
The Board has taken time to carefully consider the balance between our concerns for the participant’s health and the benefit they receive from our programs. We have decided that, while we are dedicated to maintaining programs in the prisons during difficult times, the health of the participants is paramount in this situation, and programs should be temporarily suspended. We strongly encourage all volunteers to take this precautionary action to help slow the transmission of the virus to prevent the prison’s healthcare institutions from being overwhelmed and safeguard the health of men inside as much as possible.
Infectiousness Increases in Prison
The infectiousness of this virus depends on: how much we encounter one another; how well we quarantine individuals who are ill; how often we wash our hands and surfaces; whether those treating the sick have proper equipment; how healthy we are to begin with. In prisons and other locked institutions—such factors tend to be outside of individuals’ control.
We know that healthcare for incarcerated individuals is typically overwhelmed and on a “good day” functioning at a disadvantage for the population housed inside these institutions. We feel it is of the utmost importance to do what we can to mitigate the risk for folks inside, effective immediately.
This decision comes on the heels of the World Health Organization declaring COVID19 a global pandemic, and in receiving the CDCR’s statement on preparedness for the coronavirus. We want all of our volunteers to do their part however they can to help limit the spread of COVID19 to the large population of incarcerated people in California.
Mitigate Potential Spread
We consulted with a Public Health nurse from Santa Cruz county and have decided to follow the same guidelines that are being recommended for many public sector workers: minimum two weeks of suspended in-person meetings while healthcare and government institutions continue to develop plans of actions for mitigating the risk of COVID19.
We understand and deeply value the positive impact our volunteers and programs bring to the folks inside. We will be doing everything within our power to ensure our participants are safe and supported.
BP3 will use this program hiatus to support advocacy efforts around humane pandemic and emergency procedures for incarcerated populations, and to develop alternative means of communication and connection with our program participants.
During this interim we encourage volunteers to take the below listed actions:
- Get involved with advocacy initiatives
- Write letters of support for BP3 program participants
- Practice self care
- Continue to monitor the CDC and WHO for COVID19 developments
If you would like additional support with efforts to reach out to your program participants regarding the modifications to our programs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org