The coronavirus has taken the world by storm as the numbers of those infected are rapidly increasing. As a result, some facilities housing inmates across the nation are releasing detainees to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
NYC Mayor de Blasio announced plans to release “vulnerable” inmates from city jails to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in local lockups, according to the New York Post.
“In the next 48 hours, we will identify any inmates who need to be brought out because of either their own health conditions — if they have any preexisting conditions, etc. — or because the charges were minor and we think it’s appropriate to bring them out in this context,” de Blasio stated on WCBS radio Wednesday evening (March 18).
America has an estimated of 7,000 jails, prisons, and correction facilities. The virus is a major threat to those housed in these facilities due to inmates living closely amongst one another. It is nearly impossible for them to practice social distancing, which is suggested for the rest of the nation at this time.
The death of New York City Department of Correction investigator David Perez, due to testing positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), has resulted in the demand for a resolution on a national level.
“The only way we can possibly keep incarcerated people safe is to release them,” explained Justine Olderman, executive director of the advocacy group Bronx Defenders. “The next best thing is to drastically reduce the number of people being held. Neither of those things are being done right now. As public defenders, what we’re actually seeing happen is the opposite, and it is terrifying.”
Cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland, have already started the process of releasing specific inmates.
However, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has yet to move forward with releasing inmates. Instead, safety guidelines were released this past Friday on helping to manage federal prisons during the outbreak.