Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
As the coronavirus spreads across the country, prisons and jails have inmates who could be at serious risk of illness. The disease, COVID-19, spreads from droplets that people could cough or sneeze up, and the virus can live on some surfaces for days in laboratory conditions. In prisons and jails, this means that one case of coronavirus could quickly spread to the entire prison population. As a precaution, many states are allowing prisoners to be released early or making alternative arrangements for these inmates to serve their sentences.
If you have a loved one who is in jail or prison right now during the coronavirus outbreak, their health and safety could be at risk. Our attorney for COVID-19 prisoner release petitions might be able to fight to get your loved one released or resentenced, especially if they are at high risk of catching the coronavirus or dying from it. Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586 to set up a free legal consultation.
What Prisoners Are Eligible for Release During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Rules and decisions are constantly changing throughout this pandemic. As of the writing of this article, some states like New York and California have already begun releasing some high-risk prisoners, but eligibility rules and guidelines are constantly shifting. This is especially true in states that have not yet started prisoner release programs. Regardless of what state the prisoner is in, we can begin fighting to have them released, especially if they are high-risk.
Most discussions around prisoner release have been looking to release three categories of prisoners:
COVID-19 can affect anyone since no one appears to be obviously immune to the disease. However, the disease is much more dangerous for patients that have preexisting conditions and older patients. This means that if you know someone in jail with any of the following issues, they could be at high risk of coronavirus complications:
- Old age
- Respiratory conditions (potentially including asthma)
- Immune system conditions (such as HIV/AIDS)
Other conditions could potentially cause complications as well. If these patients are left in prison, they have the same high risk of catching the disease as any other prisoner. What sets these prisoners apart is that their preexisting health conditions might mean they will need to be put on ventilators or that they have a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 complications. These prisoners are at the highest risk if they stay in jail, and some states are looking at options to release these inmates.
Prisoners Close to Parole
Most states allow parole for prisoners who have served their time on good behavior. Many states also work with “indeterminate sentences,” meaning that the inmate is sent to jail for a certain amount of time and then made eligible for early release or parole after serving a minimum sentence. Prisoners come up for parole eligibility every day, and parole boards and courts often have a large docket to get through for parole decisions. Because of coronavirus concerns, many states are pushing their parole boards to clear those cases and allow people to be released. They may also be accepting parole applications from prisoners who have parole dates coming up soon, even if they have not served their full sentence yet.
For help determining parole eligibility and filing for an even earlier parole date, you will likely need the help of a lawyer. Especially in these dangerous times, many of these cases are not being decided on merits such as “good behavior,” but rather as a safety concern. This could allow more people to get parole.
In general, jail and prison should be reserved for serious crimes. As new criminal cases come through the system, judges and prosecutors should be hesitant to sentence anyone to incarceration who does not absolutely need to be locked up. Some jail and prison wardens might also refuse to accept new prisoners who commit non-violent crimes. For those prisoners already in the system, waves of releases to prevent the spread of coronavirus will look to release non-violent offenders first, in many cases. Talk to a lawyer about potentially applying for resentencing to avoid jail time or early release for coronavirus concerns.
Getting Released from Jail to Prevent Coronavirus
The process of how a prisoner can file for release will depend on many factors. In cases where you are being held while you await trial, you might be able to petition for a bail reduction so that you can be released ahead of your trial. In cases where your case is already over and you have been sentenced to incarceration, you might be able to apply for resentencing under the rules of some states. In other cases, a petition to be released because of coronavirus concerns could come in the form of a petition for parole or early release or under some other type of petition.
The process will greatly depend on the laws in your state as well as what decisions are made in the coming months about how to deal with the coronavirus. Things are constantly changing, and it is important to work with a lawyer as early as you can to make sure that you can ride the earliest waves of prisoner release.
If your loved one was high risk and the prison was negligent in failing to release them, we might also be able to file a civil rights lawsuit for any negative effects they suffer from catching coronavirus while incarcerated. Petitions might also be necessary to get a sentence suspended so that a patient can be treated at a hospital away from the prison.
Call Our Lawyer for Prisoner Release Petitions and Early Parole to Prevent Coronavirus and COVID-19 Spread
If you are in jail or prison or you have a loved one who is currently incarcerated, our attorney might be able to help them get early release to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In many states, there are no plans to release prisoners automatically without prisoners having to fight for release. Call (814) 826-3586 today to set up a free legal consultation with our attorney for COVID-19 prisoner release petitions. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is doing what we can during the pandemic to help the accused and incarcerated protect their safety and their civil rights.