NEW YORK — A celebrity-backed criminal justice reform organization announced Friday it is sending about 100,000 masks to Rikers Island and other correctional facilities across the United States as the country battles the COVID-19 crisis.
The REFORM Alliance, whose founding partners include rappers Meek Mill and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, announced it joined forces with author and influential speaker Shaka Senghor to send about 50,000 masks to the Rikers Island jail complex, where the number of coronavirus cases in the facility continues to spread.
Another 2,500 masks are being sent to the Rikers medical facility.
About 40,000 masks will be delivered to the Tennessee Department of Corrections and another 5,000 will be sent to the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
The initiative comes as prisons and jails continue to face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the past several weeks, REFORM Alliance and its leaders have worked around the clock to protect people behind bars and first responders from the spread of COVID-19.
"Governors and people who run jails and prisons in this country need to take the pandemic in Rikers as a warning,” said Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance.
“We're in danger of seeing prisons coast-to-coast turn into morgues. It is important to get medical supplies in, and it is equally important to get more human beings out. REFORM Alliance is working on both."
There are over 240,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with about 102,863 in New York.