Washington, D.C. – In response to the tragic and alarming death of Andrea Circle Bear, a 30-year-old pregnant woman in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) custody serving a 26-month drug-related sentence, Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement:
“This tragic death exposes the cruelty of our drug war and the inhumanity of our criminal justice system. Yet another family has been torn apart because policymakers refused to take the necessary steps to prioritize public health and safety during this unprecedented crisis. We cannot continue to choose punishment over public health. The outcomes unfortunately always seem to be the same - death and despair.
If there has ever been a time to change course, it is now. DPA stands with our fellow criminal justice reform allies in calling for the immediate release of people inside of jails, prisons, and detention centers.”
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, DPA has been calling for decarceration as an immediate response to prevent these kind of tragedies within our jails and prisons, specifically sounding the alarm on dire scenarios unfolding in the U.S. Federal Prison system.
For other resources around COVID-19, please visit drugpolicy.org/covid19.