The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons calling on the agencies to immediately release incarcerated individuals, who are either elderly or have chronic health conditions, to reduce the risk posed by Covid-19. The request came as jails around the country grapple with how to respond to the growing threat of widespread infection among a vulnerable prison population.
Both public health officials and families of incarcerated people are worried about Covid-19 spreading within the close quarters of correctional facilities. Despite 37 correctional systems suspending all visitation (except for legal visits), Covid-19 continues to breach prison walls, from Rikers Island to state prisons. Some county jails are releasing non-violent offenders early. Others are halting prisoner transfers, creating a potentially dangerous “bottleneck” in jails.
But experts agree with the ACLU that one of the most effective moves prison