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Mass. District Attorneys respond to petition for release of inmates due to risk of COVID-19

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WWLP) — The Massachusetts District Attorneys have responded to the petition filed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court by the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers regarding the release of prisoners.

Hampden County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Jim Leydon told 22News, seven of the Commonwealth’s district attorneys filed the petition to immediately release thousands of inmates from custody over concerns of COVID-19 in jail and prisons in the state.

Leydon said the district attorneys understand the petitioners’ concerns regarding the risk of the coronavirus in detention facilities in the Commonwealth, however, the crisis does not cause to abandon the government’s most basic function of protecting its citizens.

The District Attorneys believe the petition ignores the dangers that come with the release of thousands of pre-trial and convicted inmates which would be followed with subsequent supervision.

The petition would not only endanger the public but create dangerous situations for domestic violence victims who are immobile due to social distancing and quarantines because of COVID-19.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni Statement

“The petitioners’ approach of mass releasing offenders is ill-conceived, overbroad, and reckless. Dangerous criminals who pose a clear public safety risk should not be allowed to exploit a public health crisis.

As prosecutors, we have a duty to the law, victims, and the public, which includes those who are incarcerated. Being mindful to all these responsibilities, we have taken to an individualized review of release requests and have and will agree to release non-violent defendants whose health conditions and/or age present greater risks were they to contract COVID-19.

We want all people to stay safe and healthy during this incredible time in our history, but indiscriminately releasing scores of inmates into the Commonwealth in a state of emergency is just a bad idea.”

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni

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