Joint Statement From Prosecutors, Public Defenders, Crime Victims Services, And Justice Advocates On Safely Releasing People From Jails Amid Covid-19 Crisis

April 20, 2020

“With COVID-19 continuing to spread across the country, cities and counties are rightly considering the health and safety of those held in jails, those who work in jails, and the broader community, and are choosing to safely release people to prevent further spread of the virus. Many people held in jails are still awaiting trial and have not yet been found guilty of a crime. Releasing people who pose little threat to their communities both benefits public health and allows people to stay with their jobs and families during these uncertain times.

“Safely reducing jail populations, while notifying victims where appropriate, is not only the right thing to do in this unique moment, it’s something cities and counties have already proven possible using tested, data-driven strategies. These strategies aren’t radical, and most have broad support from stakeholders across local justice systems. Ending the misuse and overuse of jails is critical work that must continue – both in this current public health emergency and in the long-term.” 

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Center for American Progress

National Center for Victims for Crime

National Legal Aid & Defender Association

R Street Institute


Media Contact:

Perry Sacks, M+R