In response to the unprecedented number of illnesses and deaths unfolding in federal, state and county jails across the country as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Greenbaum, Rowe Smith & Davis LLP has announced the formation of a “COVID-19 Compassionate Release Task Force,” to be coordinated by Christopher D. Adams, Chair of the firm’s Criminal Defense & Regulatory Compliance Practice Group.
The task force will assist non-violent offenders who are currently incarcerated and have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 with requests for bail, compassionate release, medical furloughs, and early parole.
“The U.S. Attorney General, various governors and courts have identified prisoners as one of the most susceptible populations to be impacted,” notes Mr. Adams, who is already handling release applications in New Jersey. “We stand ready to advocate on behalf of these individuals, because a prison sentence should not be a death sentence,” he adds.
The density of prison environments, lack of access to adequate healthcare, and other considerations place prisoners at particularly high risk for contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.
On March 22, New Jersey became the first state to temporarily suspend and commute county jail sentences in response to the pandemic under an order issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court with the support of the New Jersey Attorney General, the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey and the ACLU.
In a follow-up measure, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 124 on April 10, creating a process for the New Jersey Department of Corrections to grant temporary reprieve to certain at-risk inmates during the COVID-19 crisis. With that action, New Jersey joined the federal government and other states in releasing certain state prison inmates in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
Individuals seeking assistance with securing bail, compassionate release, medical furloughs, or early parole for any inmate serving a sentence who may qualify for release should contact the following members of the COVID-19 Compassionate Release Task Force for assistance.