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COVID-19: ACLU Sues CT To Release Inmates During Pandemic

The ACLU of Connecticut is calling on inmates to be released amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The ACLU of Connecticut is calling on inmates to be released amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The ACLU of Connecticut filed a lawsuit in Superior Court seeking an emergency action to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by reducing the density of inmates who are incarcerated.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and four men who are incarcerated, including one with an autoimmune condition, one who is over the age of 60, one who is scheduled for release next month, and one who is being held for want of a $5,000 bond and has only one lung.

“People who are incarcerated in Connecticut are in imminent danger from COVID-19. The longer Connecticut fails to act to protect them, the closer our state comes to a deadly and unconstitutional disaster,” Dan Barrett, the ACLU of Connecticut’s legal director and an attorney on the case, said.

The lawsuit calls for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and DOC Commissioner Rollin Cook to release vulnerable inmates who have serious illnesses and those being held pre-trial on lesser charges or low-end amount.

Bennett said the lawsuit also requests the release of anyone being held solely for a technical violation of probation or parole, eligible for home confinement or supervised release, or within six months of the end of their sentence.

Lamont and Cook have also been asked to submit a plan to “provide hygiene, social distancing, diagnoses, and treatment for people who remain incarcerated; approve residential placements within seven days for those eligible for release, and fund transitional housing for those without residences to go to upon release.”

“Connecticut’s courts did not sentence people to suffer and potentially die from a pandemic,” Barrett added. “While lawyers, advocates, and family members have been filing motions and pleading with the governor and policymakers, we need urgent, coordinated, and system-wide change now to protect incarcerated people’s lives.”

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