Coronavirus: Prisons Are Releasing Inmates En Masse To Protect Them From COVID-19

By Sofia Yang | 2 weeks ago

Want to get out of jail? Get your lawyer to start complaining about the Coronavirus. If that doesn’t work, just get your fellow prisoners worked up about it and they’ll start a riot and you can storm the gates. Even though there have been no cases of the Coronavirus inside the prison population of any prison anywhere, inmates in the United States and around the world are being released or escaping and the Coronavirus is being blamed.

Prisons Everywhere Are Letting Inmates Out And Claiming Compassion

The ACLU and various prisoners rights lobbying groups have been lobbying the government to release inmates over fears that prisoners could be a breeding ground for COVID-19, and they are getting their way.

It’s part of a disturbing trend in which activist groups are using the Coronavirus crisis as a way to push their own agenda, amidst the chaos. In this case, it is definitely working.

It Started In Illinois, USA

Coronavirus prison

Illinois is home to one of the biggest, most densely populated cities in the United States of America, in Chicago. They’re bound to have lots of big problems to go along with dealing with any pandemic. Right now one of the biggest may be their prison population.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Cook County officials are releasing prisoners in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus among their prison population. This comes in spite of the fact that as of Monday, March 16, 2020 Cook County had not recorded a single confirmed case of COVID-19.

Sheriff Tom Dartsaid says by way of justification, “People at the jail are in a confined area… If we get one infection, we’ve got a huge problem.”

They’re calling it “compassionate release” and they’ve already many inmates while officials ponder releasing even more. What they’re not saying yet is just how many inmates or what types of inmates they’re considering letting out.

As for the inmates already released, the Sheriff’s office says they are inmates deemed to be most highly susceptible to the Coronavirus. Those include a pregnant woman and another detainee hospitalized for another unrelated illness.

What criteria they’ll use to release inmates in the future as part of their “compassionate release” program is totally unknown.

And Now It’s Everywhere

Now Coronavirus prisoner releases are happening in nearly every state and county in the country. It’s being done all in the name of compassion.

For example, just in the past 24-hours alone the Washington County, OR (near Portland, OR) jail released 121 inmates. Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett says, “We wanted to free up the one housing unit that has dormitory type sleeping where those in custody are sleeping kind of near each other and they don’t have their own cell.”

Garrett claims, “It’s got to be low public safety risk and those inmates who have a possibly a compromised immune system are the priority.”

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio more than 200 prisoners have been released.  L.A. County has announced they’ll begin releasing prisoners.

But they aren’t just releasing prisoners, they’re failing to incarcerate new ones. Garrett explains in his county, “We are limiting those who get booked into our jail to A and B felonies, those who are under arrest for domestic violence crimes, sex crimes or a violent person crime.”

In  L.A. County they’re reducing arrests too, letting more things go. In the past week alone they reduced the number of arrests from 300 to about 60.

What this means is that, among other things, they aren’t incarcerating people for theft. They’re leaving thieves on the street to steal as they will and sending a message that there will be no consequences for robbing a store which has been forced to close by the government during the Coronavirus crisis. Will there be consequences? Only time will tell.

Mass Coronavirus Prison Releases In Other Countries

Other countries are going even further, and simply releasing their entire prison population to rampage across the countryside.

Iran announced on Monday they’ll release 70,000 prisoners in an attempt to prevent an outbreak of the virus in their facilities.

Ebrahim Rayeesi, chief of Iran’s judiciary says, “Prisoners will continue to be furloughed as long as [their release] does not interfere with the society’s security… The priority lies with those who have underlying health conditions.”

It seems unlikely that all 70,000 have underlying health conditions. Many speculate the release is happening simply because, as the virus decimates their country, they simply don’t have enough guards to maintain the prisons.

Prisoners Riot And Escape

In some places prisoners aren’t waiting for the Coronavirus to get them released. They’re taking matters into their own hands.

Prisons worldwide are starting to report they’re understaffed. Guards are beginning to refuse to show up to work, out of fear that they may catch the Coronavirus. Prisoners are taking this as an opportunity to escape.

The Coronavirus has hit Italy especially hard. In response to the quarantines there, riots are being reported in Italy In particular there seems to be riots at prisons, and the following video seems to show prisoners escaping…

The prison is the Foggia prison where 20 inmates have been confirmed to have escaped.

Meanwhile in Sao Paolo Brazil, over 1000 prisoners have escaped. Here they are making a run for it…

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