Protesters call on Gov. Abbott to release inmates approved for parole over COVID-19 fears in prison

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Families of prisoners in Texas held a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday to protest the growing threat of COVID-19 in state prisons.

Protesters, including a woman wearing a shirt reading “Incarcerated lives matter,” said they want Gov. Greg Abbott to reduce the incarcerated population.

Some inmates who are approved and eligible for parole have not yet been released due to fears surrounding the pandemic. Those prisoners should be released, protesters argued.

Earlier this month, 12 trained strike teams were deployed to prisons across the state to oversee mass testing.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 36 Texas inmates and seven prison staff have died from COVID-19.

In total, about 2,500 prisoners and 750 staff have tested positive for the virus. Of those people, more than 1,000 offenders and almost 200 staff have recovered.

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