MA Supreme Judicial Court Refuses to Release Convicted Inmates Amid COVID-19

On June 2, 2020, a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled to deny the release of convicted prisoners seeking early release due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The justices said while imprisonment increases the risk of contracting the coronavirus, it is not a violation of an inmate’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.  

The lawsuit filed by Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts does not explain how the state Department of Correction (DOC) was intentionally indifferent to a significant risk of serious injury. Additionally, the DOC has taken steps to address the pandemic by conducting more tests, practicing social distancing, and providing masks. 

However, the state’s highest court requested the state to release more inmates since emergency measures are not considered long-term solutions as the pandemic continues. Chief Justice Ralph Gants also recommended home confinement and parole as viable alternatives to continued imprisonment. 

On the other hand, the SJC decided that immediate release is available for individuals who are involuntarily admitted to addiction treatment programs. If a person is committed under Section 35, he/she can file a motion for release, which will take up to two days to approve. 

Back in April, the SJC ruled that individuals who have yet to sentenced may seek release. Since the ruling, over 1,300 inmates have been released. Yet nearly 600 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 and eight inmates have died from the virus. 

If you or a loved one is currently in a Massachusetts jail or prison during the COVID-19 outbreak, Brad Bailey Law understands what it takes to obtain early release, home confinement, or parole. we have successfully argued for, and obtained, pretrial release in the past two months in two separate federal cases in which the clients had previously been ordered detained because of the seriousness of the charges they were facing on grounds of COVID concerns;  plus early “compassionate release” on similar grounds for a third a client who had previously been sentenced in state court - Brad Bailey Law knows how to draft, argue, and win these motions!

Contact us today at (617) 500-0252 for more information about our legal services. 

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