Page last updated on April 2, 2020

As we face a public health emergency in the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACLU of Arizona understands that some measures, those grounded in science and public health, must be taken to protect the health, safety, and civil liberties of us all. As the government takes the necessary steps to ensure public health, it must also safeguard people’s due process, privacy, and equal protection rights. Below are some actions and recommendations the ACLU has issued in light of this public health crisis. We will continue to update this page. 

*new* Check out our Advocacy at Home page, where you can find resources on how to stay engaged and protect civil liberties during this difficult time. Also...coloring pages! 

For more information:

For daily Arizona updates, visit http://azhealth.gov/COVID19.

Governor Doug Ducey's Declaration Of Emergency and Executive Order: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/03/covid-19-declaration-emerge...

Additional resources: https://arizonatogether.org/

For more information about COVID-19 in English or Spanish, dial 2-1-1.

If you need public assistance, email publicassistance@az.gov.

Prisons and Jails:

Update 04/01/20: The ACLU of Arizona Smart Justice Campaign hosted a Facebook Live Q&A with lead attorneys on the Parsons v. Shinn prison healthcare lawsuit and Arizona state lawmakers. Watch as panelists Corene Kendrick and David Fathi and state representatives Athena Salman and Diego Rodriguez provide an update on how officials are responding to COVID-19 in prisons and answer questions from the community and people who have family members in Arizona prisons. Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Update 3/20/20: We are demanding the release from prisons and jails of communities vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as the release of people currently in pretrial detention. Contact Gov Ducey now and urge him to immediately release people in jails and prisons. Take Action Now

Update 3/19/20: In a letter addressed to Gov. Ducey, police and county sheriffs, county attorneys and the attorney general, we are demanding they take immediate action to protect people in jails and prisons from the threat of COVID-19.

Update 3/18/20: In response to the emergency motion, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced on Wednesday, March 18 that it would waive medical co-pays for people in prison experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms and would make free soap available to people inside. More information can be found here: https://corrections.az.gov/sites/default/files/notifications/adcrr_covid-19_management_strategy_update_3-18-2020.pdf

The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to excarbeate the situation inside Arizona prisons. The ACLU of Arizona, the ACLU and the Prison Law office, alongside family members of incarcerated individuals, are extremely concerned about how ADC and it's private healthcare provider Centurion, will be able to protect those in its care. Swift action must be taken to ensure the health and well-being of incarcerated persons, as well as correctional, health care and other staff members. In an emergency motion filed on March 16, 2020, we asked a judge to order the Department of Corrections to immediately work with an independent medical expert to develop and implement a plan to prevent and management a coronavirus outbreak. The emergency motion also seeks for ADC to suspend monetary charges for hygiene supplies, fees for medical screening, unblock alcohol-based sanitizer as contraband, and to work with an independent medical expert to develop and implement a plan to prevent and manage a COVID-19 outbreak.

You can read the emergency motion here: https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/20.03.16_doc_3520_plfs_emergency_motion_re_covid-19.pdf

March 14, 2020 Letter from Prison Law Office to ADC

Declaration of Corene Kendrick, Prison Law Office

Declaration of Rita Lomio, Prison Law Office

Declaration of Maya Abela, Arizona Center for Disability Law

Declaration of Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project

Read more about how jails and prisons can protect incarcerated individuals: https://www.aclu.org/news/prisoners-rights/are-our-prisons-and-jails-rea...

Immigration Centers
Update (04/02): Alongside The Florene Project, ACLU, and Perkins Coie LLP, we're asking for the immediate release of eight people in ICE detention who are at high risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19. Read the petition here: https://firrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Petition-for-Writ-of-Habeas....

Detained people are highly vulnerable to outbreaks of contagious illnesses: often, they are held in close quarters and not provided with adequate healthcare. We are particularly concerned about the health and safety of people in CBP custody, given documented failures to provide timely and adequate medical care in the past. It is our recommendation that all vulnerable populations be released from CBP custody immediately to prevent unnecessary exposure to the disease while in detention. Recommendations to ensure the health of safety of those in CBP custody include:

  • Releasing detainees: CBP should mitigate the risk of an outbreak in its facilities by reducing the overall population of people in CBP custody.
  • Provision of hygiene supplies: The most basic aspect of infection control is hygiene. There must be consistent and ongoing access to warm water and adequate hygiene supplies in all CBP detention facilities
  • Educating detainees and training facility staff: Detainees and facility staff need to be informed about the virus and the measures they can take to minimize their risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
  • Treatment: All those exhibiting symptoms should be immediately transferred from CBP custody to the care of local hospitals or medical clinics equipped to treat the disease and mitigate its spread.

Read more here: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/03/ice-is-ignoring-a-simple-wa...

Education

3/30/20: Gov Ducey and Superintindent Hoffman announced that schools will be closed through the remainder of the school year. We would like to stress that officials should take all measures possible to minimize the impact on their communities and find ways to support vulnerable and underresourced students. When schools close, parents and guardians need to make unexpected arrangements for childcare, students lose instructional time and school meals, and families lose access to other essential services their schools traditionally provide. It is essential that school administrators of all types — traditional district, charter, private, and alternative — find ways to maintain these services while addressing the public health concerns posed by the outbreak. Below are some resources to help families and students during this time:

Schools offering meals during closures:

https://kjzz.org/content/1486956/list-arizona-schools-offering-meals-dur...

https://www.abc15.com/entertainment/events/list-resources-for-arizona-pa...

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/03/19/...

https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/where-to-get-school-meals-in-the-ph...

ACLU of Arizona resources 

For more information, visit the Arizona Department of Education's website: https://www.azed.gov/communications/2020/03/10/guidance-to-schools-on-covid-19/