PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 


Minutes after Biden selected Harris as VP, she throws first punch at Trump; teachers raise their hands with safety concerns.


2020Talks - August 13, 2020 


Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made their first public appearance and running mates. President Trump called Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene a GOP "star," despite her support for baseless conspiracy theory QAnon.

ACLU: Use of Md. Prison Labor for Protective Gear Neglects Lives

Maryland officials need to do more to protect the state's prison population during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Maryland ACLU. (Adobe stock)
Maryland officials need to do more to protect the state's prison population during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Maryland ACLU. (Adobe stock)
April 6, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Public Health experts are calling for states to take extra precautions for prison populations during the coronavirus outbreak.

Now, prisoners' rights groups say Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's call to use incarcerated people to make protective equipment for others shows disregard for prisoners' lives.

Sonia Kumar, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, says the state's prisons and jails haven't even implemented social distancing or given early release to nonviolent or elderly incarcerated folks as in other states. Yet, she points out that officials are having these same vulnerable people produce protective gear for just a dollar an hour on average.

"It is truly astonishing that the state would use prison labor to make masks to protect others without taking the needed steps to implement social distancing and other protective measures in prisons and jails across the state," she states.

Kumar says that two weeks ago, Maryland's prisons only had two COVID-19 cases. By last Friday, that number had shot up to 17.

Kumar notes that Hogan's order puts an unequal burden on the state's large black and brown incarcerated population. She says the medical conditions that make people the most susceptible to the coronavirus, such as heart disease and diabetes, are overly represented in Maryland's African-American and Hispanic prison population.

"This is very much a racial-justice issue," she stresses. "You know, Maryland's prison population is very racially disproportionate relative to the state's population. About 70% of the people in Maryland's prisons are black, when about 30% of the state's population is."

Maryland has the highest percentage of imprisoned African-Americans in any state in the nation, according to a new report from the Justice Policy Institute. The racial difference is most pronounced among young adults ages 18 to 24.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD