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CAIR Calls on Maryland Department of Corrections to Boost Protection of Inmates During Pandemic

(BALTIMORE, MD, 3/31/20) – Earlier today, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to implement specific measures for the duration of the State of Emergency to help protect inmates at 18 state prisons under its jurisdiction from contracting the coronavirus during the current pandemic. 

These recommendations include:

  • Releasing low-level and non-violent offenders whose health and age predisposes them to adverse consequences on their own recognizance,  
  • Requiring prison guards and staff to wear protective masks while on duty given the risk that they may be asymptomatic vectors exposed to infected persons outside of the facilities,
  • Quarantining newly incarcerated inmates from the general prison population for a period of 14 days,
  • Prohibiting in-person contact visits with inmates and instead establishing policies for remote visitation such a video conferencing, loosen restrictions on phone use, and secure attorney-client communication mechanisms until the Stay-At-Home order and State of Emergency in Maryland are lifted,
  • Limiting inmate interactions and congregations to a maximum attendance of ten persons until the Stay-At-Home order and State of Emergency in Maryland are lifted,
  • Exploring the option of home confinement as an alternative solution for violent offenders who are considered high risk for the disease.

In a statement, CAIR Director of Maryland Zainab Chaudry said:

“Detention facilities across the country have begun reporting positive coronavirus cases among staff and inmates, and in such an environment, it is virtually impossible for inmates to practice effective social distancing. As case numbers in our state continue to climb at an alarming rate, and the number of hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths also continue to rise, we are particularly concerned about the well-being of inmates who are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions. We believe these temporary measures will help save lives.”

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR Director of Maryland Zainab Chaudry,, 410-971-6062

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