DOC: FEW PRISONERS WOULD QUALIFY FOR HOME CONFINEMENT
Dec 2, 2020
By Sarah Betancourt
Estimates 20 to 25 inmates of 6,700 would be released at a time during pandemic
UNDER PRESSURE to release prisoners to home confinement during the coronavirus pandemic, the Massachusetts Department of Correction is downplaying the program’s impact, saying only about 20 to 25 of the state’s 6,700 inmates could be released at a time.
The agency, responding to questions as part of a lawsuit brought by Prisoners’ Legal Services in Suffolk Superior Court, said it will implement a home confinement program over the next 60 days but warned that, with current restrictions, it would have little impact on the size of the prison population.
“The requirements of state law and regulations do not allow for mass releases,” said DOC Commissioner Carol Mici and Public Safety Tom Turco in documents filed with the court.
“We are disappointed that the DOC and administration are not being far more proactive about instituting and utilizing home confinement among other release mechanisms to safely reduce the prison population, especially given how extensive the outbreaks are right now in our prisons and that multiple people have died in the last two weeks,” said Lizz Matos, who heads Prisoners Legal Services, after reviewing the DOC’s response.The Department of Correction recently released two prisoners on medical parole just hours before their deaths from COVID-19, according to documents.