MASS. LAWMAKERS WANT THE STATE’S PRISONS TO MOVE FASTER ON PANDEMIC-RELATED RELEASES
Dec 8, 2020
By Deborah Becker
A Suffolk Superior Court Judge is reviewing an emergency motion to allow the home release of some Massachusetts prisoners due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on documents filed in the court case, some state lawmakers are concerned that the Department of Correction has failed to implement a promised program that would allow more prisoners to finish serving their sentences confined at home.
Prisoners Legal Services of Massachusetts presented the motion to Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert Ullmann during a hearing on Tuesday. In it, the legal defense group said the department should take steps to reduce the number of people incarcerated in the state because of the spike in coronavirus cases.
“We’re in the middle of a major COVID outbreak in the Commonwealth’s prisons and there’s essentially no effort on the part of the Department of Correction to utilize mechanisms at its disposal to release people,” said Elizabeth Matos, executive director of Prisoners Legal Services of Massachusetts.
To be eligible for home confinement, a prisoner would have to be within 18 months of the end of their sentence, would have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet and be supervised by the Probation Department.