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Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers

Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers
© Greg Nash

Thirteen Democratic senators, led by Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' Harris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' MORE (D-Calif.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBad jobs report amplifies GOP cries to end 0 benefits boost Putting a price on privacy: Ending police data purchases Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states MORE (D-Ore.), on Tuesday, wrote a letter asking the Justice Department for details on what precautions are being taken against the coronavirus in juvenile detention centers.

The senators, in a letter to the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, asked for details on what measures the office has taken to ensure detention conditions are safe during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 thrives in juvenile detention facilities, where communal living arrangements make it difficult or impossible to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended public health measures such as maintaining social distance, self-isolating, and using personal protective equipment,” they wrote.

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The senators also highlighted the potential for these outbreaks to exacerbate the well-documented racial disparities in deaths from the virus. “Because the majority of youth in detention are black or Hispanic, the spread of COVID-19 within juvenile detention may further perpetuate the disparate impact of the virus along racial and ethnic lines,” they wrote.

The letter also requests data, disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender, for incarcerated juveniles’ receipt of coronavirus tests, positive and negative results, use of quarantine and medical isolation, hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and fatalities.

They also requested data on the number of early releases to community placement, step-down programs or home confinement between March and May 2020.

In addition to Wyden and Harris, the letter was signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyCivilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyA historic moment to truly honor mothers Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE (D-Pa.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Bipartisan Senate group calls for Biden to impose more sanctions on Myanmar junta A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US MORE (D-Ore.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDebate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' MORE (D-Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan MORE (D-Hawaii), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenIs America slipping to autocracy? Trade representative says policy must protect key industries Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Md.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStrengthen CBP regulations to reduce opioid deaths Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld MORE (D-Minn.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSu's track record make her an excellent pick for Labor Department post Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees MORE (D-Ill.) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.)

At least 488 detainees and 580 staff in juvenile detention facilities have tested positive for the virus, according to data compiled by the Sentencing Project based on official data released by state and local officials.