Latest From Senator West

West Joins Calls for COVID-19 Testing in Prisons

State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), a nationally known advocate for restorative justice and criminal justice reform who served as Dallas County’s first minority Chief Felony Prosecutor, called upon the federal Bureau of Prisons Friday morning to immediately test every federal inmate for COVID-19, take immediate steps to protect vulnerable inmate populations, and make sure prison staff are properly protected. 

“No amount of shelter-in-place in our federal prisons can protect the most vulnerable inmates, or prison staff,” Sen. West said. “Just because someone is serving time for a crime does not mean their basic human rights can be ignored.”

West, who is running for United States Senate in the July Democratic Primary runoff in Texas, said BOP must begin the testing immediately and quarantine all federal prisoners who test positive for the disease in medical segregation. 

“For the safety of both other prisoners and prison staff, BOP must come up with a solution to medically quarantine infected inmates in a way that protects the prison population at large and prison staff,” he said.

West noted that cases of COVID-19 had already been detected in Texas state prisons and BOP staff in Texas have already tested positive for COVID-19. 

Also, West said he was joining the American Civil Liberties Union, Due Process Institute, Freedom Works, Justice Action Network, Justice Roundtable, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Sentencing Project, and We Got Us Now, to call on the U.S. Department of Justice and federal Bureau of Prisons to immediately begin considering compassionate release for vulnerable prison populations who do not pose a threat to society. 

“We must get medically vulnerable populations out of federal incarceration before their prison sentences become death sentences,” West said, adding that he was urging Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to immediately call for COVID-19 testing and compassionate release of vulnerable populations in the nation’s federal penitentiary system. 

“Now is a time to show leadership on behalf of all Americans,” he said. “Senator Cornyn, I call on you to do everything in your power to protect prison staff and inmates in our federal prisons.”

West Joins ACLU, Others and Calls on Bureau of Prisons To Immediately Begin Testing, Taking Steps To Mitigate COVID-19 Loss of Life

DALLAS—State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), a nationally known advocate for restorative justice and criminal justice reform who served as Dallas County’s first minority Chief Felony Prosecutor, called upon the federal Bureau of Prisons [on March 27th] to immediately test every federal inmate for COVID-19, take immediate steps to protect vulnerable inmate populations, and make sure prison staff are properly protected. 

“No amount of shelter-in-place in our federal prisons can protect the most vulnerable inmates, or prison staff,” West said. “Just because someone is serving time for a crime does not mean their basic human rights can be ignored,” West said. 

West, who is running for United States Senate in the July Democratic Primary runoff in Texas, said BOP must begin the testing immediately and quarantine all federal prisoners who test positive for the disease in medical segregation. 

“For the safety of both other prisoners and prison staff, BOP must come up with a solution to medically quarantine infected inmates in a way that protects the prison population at large and prison staff. 

West noted that cases of COVID-19 had already been detected in Texas state prisons. He noted BOP staff in Texas has already tested positive for COVID-19. 

Finally, West said he was joining the American Civil Liberties Union, Due Process Institute, Freedom Works, Justice Action Network, Justice Roundtable, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Sentencing Project, and We Got Us Now to call on the U.S. Department of Justice and federal Bureau of Prisons to immediately begin considering compassionate release for vulnerable prison populations who do not pose a threat to society. 

“We must get medically vulnerable populations out of federal incarceration before their prison sentences become death sentences,” West said.

West said he was calling on Senator John Cornyn to immediately call for COVID-19 testing and compassionate release of vulnerable populations in the nation’s federal penitentiary system. 

“Now is a time to show leadership on behalf of all Americans,” West said. “Senator Cornyn, I call on you to do everything in your power to protect prison staff and inmates in our federal prisons,” West said. 

West Calls on Federal Government to Immediately Create Special ACA Enrollment Period Due to COVID-19

DALLAS—State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) on [March 26] called on the federal government, specifically the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to immediately create a special Affordable Care Act open enrollment period to protect American workers losing employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

“Early projections indicate between 500,000 and five million people will become unemployed in the near future, or are already unemployed,” West said. 

West noted that 11 states and the District of Columbia had already opened special open enrollment periods for Americans who have lost their jobs and insurance as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the American economy. 

West said that government leaders and insurance industry leaders favor a special open enrollment period. 

“This is a no-brainer. We must reopen Affordable Care Act enrollment on an emergency basis nationwide, and we must do it now,” West said. 

“Nearly 30 million Americans are already uninsured,” West said. “We cannot afford to see this number grow by as many as five million people during this crisis.” 

“Our healthcare system in this country was broken before this pandemic, and the Coronavirus is showing, in technicolor, the weaknesses in our system,” West said. “The biggest weakness is what happens with uninsured Americans during a crisis like this.”