Coronavirus Riles Criminal Justice System

Headline Roundup May 3rd, 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is having an especially extreme impact in close-quarters settings, including jails and prisons; the Bureau of Prisons announced earlier this week that of roughly 2,700 federal inmates tested for the coronavirus, 70% were shown to have COVID-19. The question of how to combat that reality is the center of debate over criminal justice reform, public safety and human rights.

Left-rated outlets and voices have covered the issue more closely, with some urging a creative use of commutations, home confinement and other alternative detainment methods to protect prisoners and avoid amplified outbreaks. Some right-rated voices criticized movements to release prisoners, alleging that such decisions were made in pursuit of ideological goals rather than true public safety.

From the Center
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More than 70 percent of federal inmates who have been tested for the coronavirus have COVID-19, the Bureau of Prisons said Wednesday.

About 2,700 inmates have been given tests, and 71 percent of those came back positive. Officials say they expect the overall number of cases to rise since testing so far has covered less than 2 percent of the 153,000 inmates in the federal system, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While the low testing rate mirrors that of the general U.S. population, prisons and jails face unique challenges in...

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From the Left
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OPINION

Covid-19 is rampaging through the country’s jails and prisons. As of last week, the Marshall Project documented more than 9,400 cases of covid-19 in U.S. jails and prisons, with more than 140 deaths. A Twitter account tracking prison data puts the figure higher — more than 18,000 staff and prisoners infected in the 45 states providing data. The known infection rate in jails in prisons is about 2½ times higher than in the general population, and as of this week, eight of the 10 largest outbreaks in the country have...

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From the Right
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OPINION

COVID-19 may be killing people and ravaging the economy, but for Mayor Bill de Blasio, it’s the perfect excuse to swing open city jail doors and free inmates.

That’s a fair conclusion anyway, given his recent boasts of reaching a “milestone,” with less than 4,000 people now behind bars after the city set more than 2,000 loose over virus fears. It’s “one part of the overall effort to create a system that is smaller, safer and fairer for all,” he gloats.

By “fairer for all,” he means “softer on those...

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