By Frederick H. Lowe
There’s a nationwide push by some to release elderly, chronically ill and nonviolent inmates from the nation’s prisons and jails to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Blacks In Law Enforcement of America are skeptical about these efforts.
Blacks in Law Enforcement asks if it is a good idea to release inmates from jail during COVID-19 pandemic.
“The choice of politicians to release low-level inmates from correctional institutions must be made with a clear head, not a political move to gain election votes this year,” officials of Blacks In Law Enforcement said in a statement.
The organization then asks the question: “Black communities all across the nation are already collateral damage socially, economically and lacking proper response of screening and healthcare when it comes to coronavirus. Are we putting some inmates back in situations that will be toxic and unsafe for themselves and their families?
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ordered the release of 700 county jail inmates.
Advocates, who are members of the American Friends Service Committee, on March 23 mailed a letter to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy demanding that he release prisoners who are elderly or suffering from illness.
Also, six national groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, The Sentencing Project and Freedom Works sent a letter to President Trump asking him to commute the sentences of elderly patients and those suffering from chronic illness who are serving time in federal prisons.
Blacks in Law Enforcement responded: “Black communities across the nation have long been victims of political symbolism and not substance. Releasing inmates without appropriate assessment of conditions that they will be returning, testing to make sure they do not have the virus must be made with a clear head and strategy, not just looking at the bottom line on saving money.”