Jay-Z and Meek Mill through their REFORM Alliance have announced that co-founders Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Robert Kraft, Michael Rubin and more are joining forces with author Shaka Senghor to send nearly 100,000 surgical masks to prisons across the country to assist inmates amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Rikers Island jail in New York City, which has had a spike in confirmed cases with 231 inmates and 23 staff members testing positive as of this week, will receive 50,000 masks and another 2,500 are being sent to Rikers’ medical facility.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections will be given 40,000 masks to be distributed to various facilities throughout the state while the Mississippi State Penitentiary is set to receive 5,000 masks.
REFORM Alliance CEO Van Jones expresses how grave the situation is as incarcerated men and women, correctional officers and facilities staff are increasingly testing positive for COVID-19.
“Governors and people who run jails and prisons in this country need to take the pandemic in Rikers as a warning,” Jones says. “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.”
Earlier this week, Jay-Z and Rihanna announced that their Shawn Carter Foundation and Clara Lionel Foundation, respectively, would be donating $2 million collectively to aid coronavirus response efforts.