Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey’s #smartsmall initiative will assist the REFORM Alliance with a $10 million donation for COVID-19 Relief efforts.
With the donation, REFORM will purchase and deliver 10 million masks and additional PPE to prisons across all 50 states. The aim is to ensure the incarcerated population, correctional officers, healthcare workers, and personnel working in state, federal and private facilities are protected from COVID-19 exposure.
In the top-10 COVID-19 hotspots in the United States, eight are linked to prisons and jails. The largest COVID-19 cluster in the country is at Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, where there are 2,197 infected inmates—more than 80 percent of the prison population. To date, over 5,000 correctional officers nationwide have tested positive for the virus.
“I’m grateful REFORM exists,” Dorsey said. “The criminal justice system needs to change. COVID-19 adds to the injustices, and REFORM is best suited to help.”
“This generous donation from Jack and #startsmall is an absolute game-changer,” REFORM Alliance CEO Van Jones said. “Not only will this gift help us protect millions from the threat of COVID-19, but this level of support from a tech titan marks a turning point for the criminal justice reform movement. It’s truly an honor to call Jack an ally in this fight, be able to provide masks to every prison in America and potentially save tens of thousands of lives.”
The donation coincides with the #AnswerTheirCall film, a PSA that highlights how COVID-19 is devastating behind prison walls and turning prison sentences into death sentences for 2.3 million people.
startsmall’s donation will be included in its opensource document, which publicly highlights the financial grants that the organization has provided to groups combatting the COVID-19 crisis.