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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Steele

Thousands of inmates released during COVID-19 pandemic could be headed back

Last year at the beginning of the pandemic, officials released more than 23,000 inmates to serve their sentences at home.

But, as more people become vaccinated, thousands could be brought back to serve the rest of their sentences, thanks to a legal opinion issued by the Justice Department in the remaining days of former President Donald Trump's administration.

Once the emergency is lifted, the memo says, the federal Bureau of Prisons, BOP, “must recall prisoners in home confinement to correctional facilities

The BOP has strict criteria when it comes to releasing prisoners to home confinement. Inmates are ineligible if they have been convicted of violent crimes, terrorism, or sex offenses. In short, the BOP is not releasing anyone that is a threat to the public only those who have committed petty crimes.

So far, the new administration has not made any moves to reverse the memo although Congressional Democrats and justice-reform advocates have called on them for action.

These prisoners being released saved lives, reunited families and saved taxpayer dollars on unnecessary incarceration.

The media’s perspective

After reading multiple articles it seems this is a fairly new topic especially seeing as most articles are only a few days old and others were at the beginning of the pandemic when the prisoners were first released.

The overall consensus that I gathered is that people want the Biden administration to reverse the memo, they think it would be a huge step in his presidency especially considering he has already addressed racial bias in housing and has directed the DOJ to phase out of private prisons in his new executive orders.

I don’t think the general population has picked up on this story yet and if so, there isn’t much being said about it. I personally think this is something that will soon reach the public and garner a lot of attention even if it has yet to.

From the articles I’ve gathered that the media will want the Biden administration to rescind the memo because it is the right thing to do and why give people a taste of life outside of prison and then send them back so abruptly? They again are low level prisoners and would be low risk of harm to the public.

Seeing as there is little information on what the public and media actually think, do you think Biden should/will rescind the memo? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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