As Governor Wolf prepares to release up to 1,800 prisoners from state correctional institutions amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Judy Ward (R-30) is raising concerns about the decision and the process of allowing inmates to go free.
“The entire premise behind COVID-19 mitigation has been doing what is best for public safety. I have serious doubts that releasing prisoners without the consent of the judicial branch or prosecutors will make our communities safer”, Ward said, “if we are going to release criminals back into society before their sentences are finished, we need to determine whether they present any real risk of recidivism. That can’t happen without empowering the people who tried these cases and sentenced these criminals in the first place to veto releases of potentially dangerous criminals.”
The current process outlined by the Wolf Administration claims it would offer an opportunity for judges and district attorneys to provide input into decisions about inmate releases, but the final decision would be made solely by the Department of Corrections, without veto power by a Judge or District Attorney.
“Also very concerning is the order does not limit the number of inmates eligible for the program and there is no mandate for the use of GPS monitors for home confinements.” said Senator Ward.
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