Group pushing for minor offenders to be released from prison amid COVID-19 concerns

By Arielle Cadet | WPTA (ABC) TV 21 Fort Wayne
April 15, 2020

Watch the segment at its source.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – One local group is pushing for lawmakers to release some inmates to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Faith in Indiana held a virtual prayer vigil Tuesday in response to Gov. Eric Holcomb saying he did not plan to release any prisoners. This comes after one prison death was reported in the state.

Amanda Boyd was one of more than 250 people who were part of the vigil Tuesday. Her brother is a prisoner at the Pendelton Correctional Facility.

“There are individuals that are incarcerated and despite them being incarcerated they have families who are wholeheartedly expecting them to come home,” Boyd said.

She said she is worried about him getting COVID-19.

“The thing the bothers me the most is my brother is in the highest risk or maximum dorm and they haven’t received masks or any type of protective equipment in his dorm,” Boyd said.

Jeff Walker also attended the vigil, his son Marcus is incarcerated in Texas. Walker says his son’s experience inspired him to get involved with Faith in Indiana.

“We want to take it to the highest level in our state to have mandates come down to address this issue with state and local prosecutors so they can fall in line and realize how we can get ahead of this,” Walker said.

He says this coronavirus outbreak has shed light on the problems with the prison system.

“We’re talking about health issues and we do not want to be the cause for people dying when we can do something about it,” Walker said.

As for Boyd, she said she knows her brother wouldn’t be eligible to be released, but she thinks allowing other inmates with minor offenses out could help keep her brother safe.

“I think my ability to give those people a voice and paint a real picture of what their life is like will help us be more compassionate and empathetic as a community,” Boyd said.

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as a Multimedia Journalist for WPTA. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at

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