Statewide Effort Underway to Identify Certain Inmates for Release from the Prison Population Amid COVID-19 Concerns
(Reality: There is no Corona in Hawaii jails. And there is no number of criminals which can be released that will eliminate or even reduce the risk of Corona in Hawaii jails—except all of them. Corona is just the excuse to impose a soft-on-crime agenda which was being pushed before Corona came onto the scene.)
News Release from Hawaii Attorney General, March 26, 2020
HONOLULU – The Department of the Attorney General is coordinating a remote-access meeting of county and state prosecutors, public defenders and the judiciary to develop a plan for identifying certain categories of inmates for release from state jails.
On March 24, 2020, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General and all county prosecuting attorneys to respond to a petition filed by the Office of the Public Defender seeking an order to commute or suspend jail sentences for persons serving time either as a condition of felony probation or pursuant to district court convictions for petty misdemeanors and full misdemeanors.
In her response, the Attorney General recognized the urgent need to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the state’s corrections system, but noted the important duty of law enforcement to protect the public and ensure the fair administration of justice. The Attorney General’s response identified a plan for collaboration among criminal justice counterparts that complements efforts already underway by county prosecutors to reduce the number of persons entering the jail system.
“Temporarily releasing inmates or suspending jail sentences could create risks of harm to victims and other persons in the community,” said Attorney General Clare E. Connors. “All sectors of the criminal justice system should participate in this unprecedented process of re-evaluating the need to incarcerate certain inmates in order to reduce the danger of COVID-19 spreading in our jail system.”
The Department of the Attorney General has circulated to each of the county prosecutors and to the public defender and judiciary a list of currently incarcerated inmates who are in the following categories:
A. charged with a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor;
B. serving jail sentences as a condition of felony probation; or
C. serving jail sentences for petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor.
On Friday, law enforcement entities, public defenders and the judiciary will discuss a process for evaluating the release, commutation or suspension of jail sentences for each of the inmates identified on the list. The process contemplates that those most knowledgeable about the inmates are able to ensure that each released person has a place to go, will not put another person at risk of harm and is properly tracked by the system. This process also is intended to ensure that any release of inmates does not further tax the limited government resources that are focused on addressing the general spread of COVID-19 in the community.
COVID Excuse: List of Criminals to be Released from Jail is Due Monday
SA: … The Hawaii Supreme Court late Friday took a major step toward allowing the release of a segment of the state’s 2,000-plus prison population amid worries that overcrowded conditions could increase the potential spread of coronavirus among inmates and staff.
In an interim order filed at 5:09 p.m. Friday, the court gave Public Defender James Tabe until 4:30 p.m. Monday to submit a list of prisoners who fall into one of three categories based on length of sentence, severity of offense and whether they are in pretrial status for lesser crimes.
The order gives Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors, the four county prosecutors and others a chance to raise objections to the release of individual inmates and recommend conditions of release. It also doesn’t preclude the possibility of inmates outside the three categories from being released.
The Public Defender’s Office and prisoner advocates on Tuesday petitioned the court to commute or suspend the sentences of inmates serving time for petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor offenses, citing concerns that overcrowded conditions could elevate the potential for widespread infection within the state’s prison system.
It’s unclear how many inmates would be eligible for release based on the criteria or if they would be required to report back to prison once the threat is over…
read … Release of Hawaii inmates nears amid coronavirus crisis
SA Editorial: Release some inmates so that prisons don’t become a haven for coronavirus
SA: HPD conference room subs for courtroom in Waipahu manslaughter hearing