Commentary by MACDL Board president, Victoria Kelleher, posted on the WBUR website.
Last week, several men and women with preexisting health concerns were released from pretrial custody — some to home confinement, some with GPS monitoring — by agreement with the Suffolk County prosecutor. Each represented one less person imprisoned without due process; one less person to get infected with the coronavirus behind bars.
Since at least March 19, Suffolk County authorities have been working with defense lawyers to identify non-violent prisoners for release from custody as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the county’s jail population. Central to the task, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins recognizes that the virus poses a unique problem for those in custody, particularly those who are most vulnerable due to age or illness, and who do not have the ability to create social distance.