Georgia teen pens 300 letters urging elected officials to protect prisoners from coronavirus

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Since the age of 5, when a family member was arrested, Isabella Martinez has been passionate about criminal justice reform.

But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the now 15-year-old’s emotions turned into anger.

“To be the United States and to not be protecting a vulnerable population such as incarcerated individuals, it’s unbelievable,” Martinez said.

So Martinez sat down and penned a letter to more than 300 elected officials – including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp – urging them to take action by reducing the number of prisoners behind bars during the pandemic.

“We continue to see an increase, so there’s 415 confirmed cases amongst the incarcerated population,” she added.

Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) said lawmakers in Congress are working to address the issue by allocating funds for prisoner care in the CARES Act.

“If they can get those dollars down to the county jails or to the state prisons, we think that would be an excellent use of those funds,” Ferguson added.

It’s been nearly three weeks since Martinez sent her letters and she’s only heard back from one elected official. But when we shared her letter on Twitter, one Senate candidate took notice.

“You know, I have two daughters, Kellie. They’re 7 and 9 and I hope they have the initiative and passion and the compassion that she has,” Sarah Riggs Amico, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate said Friday.

Amico’s conversation with Martinez inspired the hashtag #BELIKEIZZY.

Martinez is already working on a second letter to elected officials looking for answers.

“I will not stop until I get a response until I see action,” Martinez added.

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