Jay Z and Meek Mill’s organisation send 100,000 surgical masks to US prisons

The illness is likely to spread quickly in correctional facilities since it is almost impossible to follow social distancing guidelines


Photos by: Kevin Mazur

Words by: Billy Ward

Reform Alliance, the criminal justice reform organisation founded by Jay Z and Meek Mill, is sending nearly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities across the US in order to help officers, inmates and health workers fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The mask donations are part of Reform Alliance’s SAFER Plan, a set of policy recommendations aiming to help prisons and jails respond to an outbreak.

Experts have warned that due to the confined spaces in correctional facilities, coronavirus is likely to spread quickly among incarcerated populations as it is almost impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.

Reform Alliance announced on Friday it would send 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 5,000 masks to Parchman and 52,500 to Rikers and its medical facility.  The organisation said prisons and jails have been especially impacted by the global shortage of protective gear.

As well as this, last month news broke that Jay Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation was joining forces with Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation to each donate $1 million towards Covid-19 response efforts.

According to a press release, the combined $2 million funded by both foundations will “support undocumented workers, the children of frontline health workers and first responders, and incarcerated, elderly and homeless populations in New York City and Los Angeles.”

The funds are also “offering daycare, learning materials, food and supplies for the children of frontline healthcare workers and first responders, providing learning materials for the over 20,000 children”.

Choura Events, the production firm responsible for building pop-up venues at Coachella festival are now using their equipment to provide emergency relief tents, amid increasing pressure on hospitals to house patients.

On April 18th a charity event organised by Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation will take place, raising funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as local and regional charities providing food, shelter and healthcare to those in need.

‘One World: Together At Home’ is set to see the likes of Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Elton John take to our screens to celebrate health care workers across the world. Other musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, Burna Boy, Idris Elba and more, will also make virtual appearances.

Read next: The UK music industry pulls together to fight the economic impact of coronavirus 

Submit your music Close