COVID Impacts the Imprisoned and Those Who Minister to Them

August 12, 2020

"For I was...in prison and you visited me." (Mt 25:35, 36) The Catholic Church in Florida aims to live out this corporal work of mercy with hundreds of volunteers involved in ministries to the incarcerated throughout the state.

Due to the COVID pandemic, volunteers have largely been unable to visit the imprisoned since mid-March. As of August 12, the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) reports 12,988 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 70 inmates have died due to the coronavirus. 1,866 DOC staff members, including Secretary Mark Inch and Deputy Secretary Ricky Dixon, have also tested positive. We invite you to pray this COVID-19 prayer of solidarity for all of them.
 
With visits suspended, there are other ways to support those who are incarcerated and the ministries that serve them. To find out more, please contact your local diocesan Jail and Prison Ministry office: 

The bishops have consistently expressed their concerns with mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on those who are poor and minorities. In response to the concerns for those who are incarcerated, which have only been exacerbated by COVID, we look forward to the Florida legislature passing proposals in the 2021 session which would expand compassionate release for those who are ill and elderly in addition to allowing judges to downward depart from mandatory minimum sentences for low level, first time drug possession. To see how your candidates for State House and State Senate responded to a question regarding mandatory minimum sentences, please visit our Candidate Questionnaire Project.