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File #: 11462-20    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Ordinance Status: In Committee
File created: 3/20/2020 In control: Committee on Public Safety
On agenda: Final action:
Title: An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny directing the implementation of certain strategies for the mitigation of disease transmission within and outside the Allegheny County Jail.
Sponsors: Bethany Hallam, Olivia Bennett, Paul Klein
title
An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny directing the implementation of certain strategies for the mitigation of disease transmission within and outside the Allegheny County Jail.

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Whereas, the Allegheny County Chief Executive has declared that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a public emergency in Allegheny County;

Whereas, Section 5-311.06 of the Administrative Code of Allegheny County provides that “[i]n the event of a public emergency declared by the Chief Executive affecting life, health, safety or property, County Council may adopt by an affirmative vote of at least a majority of the seated members one or more emergency ordinances or resolutions.”; and

Whereas, more than 2,100 people are currently held in the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) in crowded conditions that involve sharing cells, eating quarters, recreation areas, sinks, toilets, and all other amenities and facilities; and

Whereas, hundreds of staff, defense attorneys, contractors, and other individuals enter and leave the facility each day, returning to their families and communities throughout Allegheny County, potentially carrying infections from the jail to their homes and communities and vice versa; and

Whereas, more than 80% of those at ACJ are not convicted of any criminal offense; instead, 44% are held on alleged violations of probation, many of them technical violations or based on non-violent charges; 28% of them are held pretrial, with their presumption of innocence intact; countless numbers are held simply because they cannot afford cash bail; and

Whereas, the jail population includes a substantial number of individuals at heightened risk for suffering the most severe impacts of COVID-19, including elderly people, people with asthma and other respiratory conditions, heart conditions, and compromised immune symptoms; and

Whereas, an outbreak of coronavirus in the ACJ will potentially be catastrophic, as the facility currently has 45 health care positions un-filled - it ...

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