The ACLU of Virginia has launched COVID19@acluva.org or (804) 803-3566, an email hotline designated to receive information regarding civil rights and civil liberties violations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone with information on abuses in Virginia prisons, jails or detention centers, or concerns about government responses, should email the hotline to be reviewed by the ACLU-VA staff.
“People who are incarcerated are particularly vulnerable during this uncertain time,” said Executive Director Claire Gastañaga. “Prisons, jails and detention centers offer limited access to health care under the best of circumstances, and the COVID-19 pandemic poses incredible risk to people under the government’s charge. This hotline will allow us to hear directly from community members.”
Any response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be rooted in science and expert advice. The email hotline is an effort to monitor any attempts of government overreach that limits our civil liberties in ways that are not essential to public health and safety during this time of crisis. Tips sent to the email hotline will be studied to determine trends, systemic problems and emergency situations. By sharing information with the ACLU-VA through this hotline, people should understand that the information is not confidential or privileged, and the ACLU-VA may use this information to inform its advocacy and communications efforts and to help educate the public about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s civil rights and civil liberties. The ACLU-VA will not identify people who reached out to its hotline publicly without their permission but the ACLU-VA may use quotes from their story or facts of their situation without identifying them.
All information communicated through the email hotline should not be considered legal advice and is not in any way forming an attorney-client relationship. Anyone looking for legal assistance regarding an individual issue may visit the ACLU-VA’s intake webpage for additional information.