Groups push for release of some federal inmates because of COVID-19

Six national organizations have mailed a letter to President Trump urging him to commute the federal sentences of elderly inmates and those suffering from chronic conditions who may be eligible for compassionate release because of the coronavirus.

“As the United States continues to combat the global health pandemic rapidly spreading throughout the country, it is critical that we not forget the millions of people working and detained in jails, prisons and detention centers. Some Federal Bureau of Prisons staffers in New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin and Immigration and Customs Enforcement medical staff member at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey have all tested positive for COVID-19,” the organizations wrote in their letter.

In addition, the letter said that on Saturday, a person jailed in the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City tested positive for COVID-19, which marks the first confirmed case of an incarcerated individual in the federal prison system. On Sunday, two people incarcerated at the Federal Corrections Complex in Oakdale, Louisiana, tested positive for COVID-19.”

The letter dated March 24 was signed by six organizations, including the ACLU, The Sentencing Project and Freedom Works.

“The public health concerns presented by coronavirus in confined spaced creates an urgent need to ensure the safety of the staff and those incarcerated, particularly those who are elderly and those with chronic health conditions,” the letter added.



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