Prisons Release Certain Inmates Amid Coronavirus Pandemic - Do You Support the Releases?
Should certain inmates be released to reduce the spread of coronavirus in prisons?
by Countable | 4.9.20
Prisons around the country are coping with the coronavirus outbreak by releasing certain inmates with conditions that make them vulnerable to the illness and those near the end of their sentence for non-violent offenses. Coronavirus outbreaks at several prisons across the country have resulted in hundreds of inmates and corrections staffers contracting coronavirus.
At the federal level, Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to release inmates over age 60 who weren’t convicted of violent or sex crimes into home confinement, which applies to about 2,000 prisoners in federal custody. From April 1st to April 14th, inmates in federal correctional facilities will be confined to their cells to prevent the spread of coronavirus in shared dining, hygiene, and recreational areas.
State & local governments are also looking to reduce the prison population amid the pandemic:
- California ordered the early release of non-violent inmates who were scheduled for parole within the next two months, which may reduce the number of inmates in its custody by 6,500 over the course of April.
- In Illinois, several hundred of the 5,000 inmates at Cook County Jail were released but over 350 coronavirus cases have been tied to the facility.
- New York issued a statewide order to release low-level parole violators, although several sex offenders who were serving time for violating their parole after their intiial release were among those removed from jail during the outbreak. At the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, over 287 inmates and 441 staff tested positive for coronavirus, making it one of the largest clusters of the virus in the U.S.
The pandemic has also caused unrest in correctional facilities. In Washington, 14 inmates at the Yakima County jail used a riot as an opportunity to mount an escape that was motivated in part by fears of contracting coronavirus. All inmates were apprehended after their escape.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / MorelSO)
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