South Carolina:

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Our COVID-19 Response

On this page, you will find information about Root & Rebound’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19) as it impacts formerly incarcerated, currently incarcerated, and justice-impacted people and their families — the communities we serve in California, South Carolina, and across the United States. We will update this page at least weekly.

[Last updated June 4, 2020 at 11:25am]

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Need Help?

If you have a time-sensitive matter, or need to refer someone to Root & Rebound, please call us at 510-279-4662, or email us at [email protected]. For people and families in South Carolina who need support, the quickest way to reach our legal team is via email at [email protected].

Our Legal Services during COVID-19

CA Phone & Email Hotline

Our California legal team continues to operate our free Reentry Legal Hotline every Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM PT at our main phone number: 510-279-4662. Our hotline is free and open to anyone in California with a reentry-related legal issue, question, or concern. We continue to accept and pay for calls from people inside prison and jail.

We also take emergency hotline calls Monday – Thursday, 9-5 PT.

You can also email our California legal team with questions about your rights with a record and reentry needs at [email protected]

SC Email Hotline

Contact our South Carolina legal team with questions about your rights with a record and reentry needs at at [email protected]

CA Legal Mail

People in California seeking Root & Rebound’s reentry legal support can continue to write us legal mail at our office address at Root & Rebound, 1730 Franklin Street, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 92612, which we will pick up on a weekly basis.

CA Remote Legal Clinics

Root & Rebound is always looking for creative ways to bring our legal support to people impacted by the justice system, and people facing discrimination because of their arrest or conviction history. We are known for our community legal clinics to help people overcome barriers because of their past system involvement. In California, we have upcoming clinics for the Central Valley, Oakland, and Tribal Communities in the next two months. These will continue as remote clinics.

Our goal is to host all of our planned reentry legal clinics through phone and video appointments with both new and existing clients.

No Walk-ins

To protect the health of our clients, staff, volunteers, and community, we cannot accept public visitors, including any drop-ins or walk-ins, at our office locations for the time being.  We will let you know when this changes. In the meantime, you can call or email.

Weekly Community Forums

Every Wednesday, from 12-1pm PT /(3-4pm ET), Root & Rebound is hosting virtual Community Forums using Zoom to connect with impacted community members, families, and fellow service providers about key issues affecting system-impacted people during COVID-19–everything from employment rights, housing, public benefits, reentry needs, advocacy efforts, and more.

#1: Coronavirus’ Impact on Currently and Formerly Incarcerated People

#2: Our Policy Advocacy Responses in California & South Carolina

#3: Employment, Know your rights!

#4: Housing Barriers & Opportunities for Systems-Impacted People

#5: Ready, Set, Goal! Using time at home to develop personal portfolio of “rehabilitation”

#6: The next community forum is Wednesday, May 13th from 12 pm – 1:30 pm PST. The topic will be: “Mother’s and Father’s Day–A Discussion of Family Separation and Reunification”

Our COVID-19 Emergency Client Support Fund

Client Support Fund
Root & Rebound has long maintained a Client Support Fund to help our clients with emergency needs and basic necessities (food, clothing, medicine, shelter)–resources people need to survive. Given this unprecedented global emergency, we have made the decision to open our Client Support Fund to anyone in California or South Carolina who is formerly incarcerated and/or system-impacted in need of basic necessities.

> TO APPLY: If you are formerly-incarcerated or system-impacted and in need of support with basic necessities, please CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR THE FUND and tell us about your current needs. We have limited funds and will continue our practice of prioritizing the needs of those with the most limited resources. 

> TO DONATE: It is our goal to raise $50,000 in 2020 to grow this client fund. We need your help today to make this happen: CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OUR CLIENT FUND!

Resources & Legal Protections

We’re compiling information on community resources, relief funds, and special legal protections to support system-impacted people during COVID-19.

Employment

FIND OUT WHO’S HIRING RIGHT NOW:

  • Root & Rebound has compiled a list of employers hiring now – linked here
  • In California, Gov. Newsom announced a new job site to help workers impacted by COVID-19 find employment and other essential resources: onwardca.org

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South Carolina

Public Benefits & Healthcare

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Financial Relief Funds

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Housing

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South Carolina:

  • The Chief justice in South Carolina has halted eviction proceedings until May 1st, except in “matters that involve essential services and/or harm to person or property.”  A copy of the order is linked here.
  • Statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium extended to May 15, 2020
  • SC Thrive COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program
    • Applicants must meet a number of requirements to qualify for the program — and you can learn more HERE
    • To see a checklist of documents required for application, click HERE.
    • Those interested in applying for rental assistance through the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program can do so now using Thrive Hub HERE.

Getting ID & DMV issues

California:

  •  DMV: The California DMV offices will no longer be taking in-person appointments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Essential services will continue by mail, through available online services, kiosks, virtually and other means. Check out their website (linked here) for up-to-date information.

South Carolina:

  • South Carolina DMV is currently open for appointments only. See updates here.

Wi-Fi, Cell Phone Service, Utilities

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California

  • Utilities/Energy: PG&E and our local Community Choice energy providers have suspended shutoffs during the crisis.

Food & Basic Needs

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Parole & Probation, and Early Release

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  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services: Updates

In-Prison Issues

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California:

  • CDCR Covid-19 Preparedness Update
  • PAN’s Self-Help Litigation Guide for State Habeas Corpus Petitions Related to COVID-19: This Guide offers a primer on petitioning a California superior court for release due to COVID-19 exposure and CDCR practices in prisons. It can be used to seek release or a change in conditions, although the focus is on release. It is designed for individuals who are representing themselves (pro per), with instructional sections as well as template legal memos of Points and Authorities for the habeas petition and application for a Temporary Restraining Order seeking immediate release.

LGBTQ Resources

Domestic Violence Resources

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Elder & Disability Resources

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Voting

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Education & Student Loans

Other Groups’ Resource Lists

Legal Aid Resources

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Be an advocate

We are advocating as strongly as ever for policy reform that puts system-impacted communities front and center. We’re advocating to reform occupational licensing laws, remove higher education barriers, rework parole and probation, protect housing, enforce the CA Fair Chance Act, eliminate unjust fines and fees, and more.

During COVID-19, we are joining national and statewide actions in California and South Carolina to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails, protect people on parole and probation, and advocate for the health and safety of justice-impacted people.

California Advocacy

Join the California COVID-19 listserv! To stay up-to-date on our advocacy efforts, please email Sonja at [email protected] to be added to the COVID-19 Criminal Justice Advocacy listserv.

Read the letter that Root & Rebound wrote with 60+ organizations and advocates joining us to California leaders including the directors of Parole and Probation agencies across the state, outlining critical steps the state needs to take to protect people on supervision (parole, probation and PRCS), their families, and public health.

Read the letter we signed onto to California Governor Gavin Newsom and key members of his team, calling for the release of elderly and medically fragile people from state prisons, and people close to the end of their sentence.

Read the letter we signed onto asking California Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra to take immediate steps to protect people in jail, prison, and courtrooms across the state. One positive update is the AG published an advisory on April 14th to all County Sheriffs and Probation Officers about their authority to release people during COVID-19 and similar emergencies to protect people’s health and safety.

South Carolina Advocacy

Read the letter Root & Rebound and our partner Soteria CDC wrote to South Carolina Governor McMaster, Attorney General Wilson, SCDC Director Adger, and other criminal justice system stakeholders including Solicitors and Defense Attorneys, advocating for a swift response to protect incarcerated individuals across the state.

Read the article about ACLU calling for release of people in prison and immigration detention who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

National Advocacy

Keep track of policy activity happening across the country through this multi-state COVID-19 policy tracker.

Understand best practices to help deal with the virus in federal & state prisons and local jails. The website includes sample letters to send to government officials urging prompt, responsible action to help incarcerated people.

Read about why we need to support people in immigration detention and those vulnerable to ICE enforcement practices.

Prison Policy Initiative has summarized state-based efforts to reduce the number of people in jail and prison during COVID-19.

ACLU demands release of vulnerable people in jail and prison across the country.

Sign this Color-of-Change petition asking New York’s governor to stop exploiting NY’s prisoners during this crisis.