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City is Likely to Release “Hundreds” of Inmates As Coronavirus Spreads Through Jails

Photo: Stock Unsplash

March 23, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city is considering releasing “hundreds” more inmates to slow the spread of coronavirus at its prison facilities.

The move comes after the mayor announced last week that 40 inmates from Rikers Island were set to be released on Friday. On Sunday he announced a further 23 prisoners from the city’s jail system were to be let out.

“There’s another group of about 200 inmates we’re reviewing today with the NYPD,” de Blasio said, noting that he is looking to release hundreds of inmates.

The inmates being released are said to have health issues– or are old– making them particularly vulnerable should they contract novel coronavirus. Most have a low-risk of re-offending, de Blasio said.

Inmates who are very close to the end of their sentences are also being considered, he said.

“Those are the categories we’re looking at and we’re going to announce day by day the number of people we think is appropriate and there’s going to be some people it obviously will not be appropriate to release, and we’re going to try and strike that balance,” he added.

The NYPD and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice are making the recommendations that must be signed off on by the relevant district attorney.

There are over 5,000 inmates in New York City’s jail system, de Blasio said, half the number from six years ago.

Among them is Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Weinstein, 68, who was at Rikers has been moved to the state’s maximum-security Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York. He is one of two Wende inmates who have tested positive, officials said.

Weinstein was at Rikers Island after being handed down a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in February.

The City announced Sunday that 29 inmates and 17 Department of Correction employees at Rikers have tested positive for coronavirus.

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7 Comments

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Brutus

@Lisa Kerr: they were under house arrest. It was called a jail. Remember these days as you go to the voting booth in November!

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alex

What happened to common sense??? Releasing convicted criminals who are infected with the coronavirus in the public? Pro crime democrats need to be voted out.

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E Edwards

Isn’t there an infirmary on Rikers Island? Why release these folks if potentially they pose a risk of contracting the virus and further straining resources on the HHC? The Socialist agenda is to make the most of this crises…..keep pushing.

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Claude

This is a total disgrace, I will remember on voting day, As a lifelong Democrat I am in total disbelief about a lot off recent policy’s and laws passed by my so called representatives.Shocking

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Guest

Release… ?

to Stop the Spread… ?

Makes no sense. Keep them in, remove the sick ones. Monitor the remaining ones.

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Lisa Kerr

Can all of these inmates being released be put under house arrest with a monitoring system for the duration of their sentences? The fact that they’re incarcerated speaks to the fact that they don’t obey or respect the law to begin with. They’re the last group of people to abide by a “stay at home” rule.

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