Releasing Prisoners During COVID-19 Pandemic

Brad Bailey Law

With COVID-19 having now spread to 114 different countries, the World Health Organization ( WHO) having declared a worldwide pandemic, the President having declared a National Emergency, and the death toll rising at an unprecedented rate both domestically and abroad, genuine concerns have been raised about the safety and well-being of pre-trial detainees and post-conviction inmates currently incarcerated in jail and prison facilities across America.

Reliance on double and triple bunking, often using congregate or dormitory-style housing because of overcrowding, serving meals in chow-halls where seating is “elbow to elbow”, and requiring group movement via front-to-back lineups that allow no room for “social distancing”---let alone six-foot separation, are just some of the reasons correctional facilities may quickly become their own disease epicenters and. With a constant influx of newly arrested/sentenced prisoners, while limited to sub-standard health care units and being the last on any government list likely to receive proper personal protective equipment (PPEs), jails and prisons are already incubators for the deadly and non-discriminating Coronavirus.

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported its first confirmed inmate death from COVID-19 at a federal correctional facility in Louisiana; one of the Nation’s busiest detention centers; Riker’s Island in NY, reported positive tests for two detainees; and three different state and county correctional facilities here in MA have reported positive test result involving either staffers or inmates. There can be no doubt, the situation in prisons and jails is going to get worse before it gets better, a lot worse.

Because of this, experienced criminal defense lawyers are scrambling to identify their most vulnerable incarcerated clients and filing motions for there immediate release from jail. For the most part, Sheriff’s, DA’s, and Victim Advocates are pushing back. In the federal system, some prosecutors have agreed to look at the issue on a case by case basis to determine if there is any at-risk detainee/inmate whose release they might be inclined agree to.

At Brad Bailey Law, we have already experienced success in securing the release of certain clients, both pretrial and post-conviction, from state (county) and federal lockups. In each such instance, our clients have been able to return to the safety of their own homes to either serve out the remainder of an underlying sentence or await trial on pending charges. Our seasoned lawyers know how to draft an appropriate motion, are familiar with what needs to specifically be shown in order to have the best chance at success and understand how to effectively argue the merits of each filing, when contested.

Not every currently incarcerated detainee or inmate can presume their early release in response to COVID-19 worries. However, in the event there may be viable grounds for release of anyone currently incarcerated on either medical or compassionate grounds, each has the right to have their personal and medical circumstances carefully reviewed by an experienced attorney who can properly evaluate the likelihood of a successful motion.

For more information, please call Brad Baily Law today at (617) 500-0252 for a free consultation.

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