From Fox News:

“With overly full facilities, it is nearly impossible to properly distance, so it is very important to release those who can be released. When it comes to sex offenders, it is important to consider the circumstances of the individual case,” noted Jesse Kelley, the government affairs manager for criminal justice policy at the R Street Institute. “I do not think it is fair to classify all ‘sex offenders’ as violent criminals because not all offenses that are codified in the various states as ‘sex offenses’ are violent — for example, people charged with or convicted of indecent exposure or public urination should not be held in a detention facility during a pandemic.”

Kelley also underscored that judicial discretion is an essential tool, and where appropriate, judges should be allowed to consider both the danger of spreading coronavirus in prisons versus general public safety when it comes to releasing individuals with more serious offenses.

“Early release does not diminish the justice system, especially if supplanted by post-release supervision. Early release, like parole, has always been part of how we measure rehabilitation of an incarcerated individual and has always been a point of discussion in the victim community,” she added. “Striking a balance of protecting as many people as possible from COVID-19 and ensuring the administration of justice is important, but we have to remember that COVID-19 is a potential death sentence for anyone who contracts it.”

Image credit: Dan Henson

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