When COVID-19 began, we were told to social distance. Schools and businesses shut down and essential services operated at limited capacity. Because this was not possible within the New Jersey prison system, many inmates and staff have been affected by coronavirus. In fact, according to The Marshall Project, New Jersey prisons have the highest coronavirus death rate in the nation. In an attempt to rectify this issue, new legislature has passed, releasing some inmates early. This will create more room behind bars, allowing for social distancing within prisons. This will help protect inmates, prison staff, and local NJ communities. To learn more about the new legislature in place, continue reading.
What is Happening in the New Jersey Prison System?
A prison does not allow for much social distancing. As a result, NJ’s prison system has seen many potentially preventable deaths. At the time of this writing, at least 52 prisoners, two corrections officers, and one prison nurse have passed away from COVID-19. Prison staff who contract the virus may bring it home to their families, spreading COVID-19 to their local New Jersey communities. So, this new law will help protect inmates, prison staff, and local communities.
Who is Eligible for Early Release?
The new legislature states that inmates with less than 1 year left on their sentence can have about 4 months knocked off their sentence for every month spent behind bars during the pandemic. The total amount of time that can be taken off a sentence is 8 months. But, this does not apply to every inmate. Anyone convicted of murder, aggravated sexual assault, and “repetitive, compulsive” sex offenders will not be eligible for early release. Additionally, the law does not apply to those in federal prisons or county jail.
Who has Been Released?
The law took effect November 4, making November 4, 2020, the largest single-day release of inmates in recent NJ history. So far, an estimated 2,261 adults and 50 juveniles have been released early. Approximately 1,388 parolees will no longer have supervision as well. Officials plan to release about 1,000 more inmates through January 2021. The releases will continue on a rolling basis for the duration of the pandemic.
If you have any questions about this new legislature and how it may affect you or a loved one, please contact Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC for more information.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. We understand how potentially damaging a criminal can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our willingness to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.