Baker administration crafting home confinement guidelines


Nov 18, 2020
CommonWealth Magazine
By Sarah Betancourt

Rep. Sabadosa calls it ‘an important first step’

WITH COVID-19 infections rising at state prisons, the Department of Correction is preparing to expand testing at the facilities and taking initial steps to release prisoners to home confinement.

The new initiatives were disclosed during a conference call between state lawmakers and members of the Baker administration, including Carol Mici, commissioner of the Department of Correction; Marylou Sudders, the secretary of health and human services; and Tom Turco, the secretary of public safety. Some of the lawmakers provided details on the discussion. Health and Human Services did not reply to an inquiry about the meeting.

One of the lawmakers, Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton, said she is grateful the Department of Correction is developing guidelines on home confinement, which is required under state law. The guidelines would spell out how prisoners would be assessed to see which ones could be released to preapproved housing with electronic ankle monitors.

According to several legislators, the DOC did not provide details about the guidelines, but plans to release them within 60 days.“It is an important first step toward responsible depopulation of our prisons that balances pressing public health needs with public safety. COVID has proven extremely serious and often deadly in all congregate living settings, and the creation of these much-needed guidelines recognizes that depopulation is necessary to keep our communities safe,” Sabadosa said.

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