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The Pandemic Behind Bars: COVID-19 in U.S. Prisons

Event Details

April 20, 2021
6:00 pm-7:30 pm


Free admission
UMass Amherst Prison Abolition Collective

As we pass one year into the COVID-19 Pandemic, the death toll of the virus continues to reach incomprehensible levels. Behind bars, incarcerated people in the U.S. have faced the pandemic far from their families, in closed quarters, with limited access to hygiene, and few ways to avoid the devastating outbreaks that have spread through prisons.

In this panel discussion, the people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. prison system will discuss what they saw this past year, where we are currently in efforts to counter COVID-19 in prisons, and what still needs to be done. The event will start with introductions of each panelist and their work, and then continue with a moderated Q&A discussion.

Moderator: Razvan Sibii, Senior Lecturer, UMass Amherst Department of Journalism


- Page Dukes, Co-Founder, Mourning Our Losses

- Ernst Fenelon Jr., Author, Public Speaker, Senior Program Coordinator, Prison Education Project

- Eugene Youngblood, Member of the Black Prisoners' Caucus at Monroe

- Kathryn M. Nowotny, Co-Founder, COVID Prison Project

- Jesse Vasquez, former Editor-in-Chief of San Quentin News

Co-sponsors include: The Commonwealth Honors College, the Political Science Department, the Department of Journalism