Coronavirus Outbreak: US states release inmates

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta

States in the United States have disclosed plans to release prisoners with minor cases and those showing signs of Covid-19 infection.

According to New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, New York would be releasing prisoners with underlying health conditions and those who were arrested for minor crimes.

This decision came after a Riker Island’s prisoner tested positive for the virus on Wednesday with eight other prisoners showing symptoms of the virus.

Speaking at a news conference Bill de Blasio confirmed this saying that the infected inmate who is tested positive and eight others who were showing symptoms have been moved to isolation.

“This inmate was in a housing unit with other inmates, all have been checked for symptoms,” Blasio said

“Eight have been identified with symptoms and have been moved also to isolation within the communicable disease unit,” he added.

Sing Sing prison which is located north of Manhattan is one example of other prisons in the New York that have had cases of inmates tested positive. A Sing Sing prison employee for the state’s correction department has died from the virus.

Similarly, California Federal prisons would also release “low-risk” inmates. This was made know in a letter by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif to the Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Michael Carvajal on Thursday.

“In the midst of this crisis, BOP should be taking reasonable steps to reduce the incarcerated population and guard against potential exposure to coronavirus,” Harris said in the letter.

She further said that the Bureau of Prison should request release of “low-risk” inmates and those who still remain in prison because they cannot afford bail.

“At this time, BOP — in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice — can and should request the release of low-risk individuals who are in pretrial detention because of money bail,” she requested.

According to an official of The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, last two weeks the department has released about 600 inmates. Speaking on this situation, Alex Villanueva, a Los Angeles Sherriff said,

“Our population within our jails is a vulnerable population just by who they are, where they are located, so we’re protecting that population from potential exposure.”

Similarly, in Ohio, the fear of the Covid-19 has led to release of hundreds of prisoners in the Cuyahoga County Prison.

You may also like

Leave a Comment