MASSACHUSETTS’ PRISONERS TO ARGUE FOR RELEASE OVER CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS BEFORE STATE’S HIGHEST COURT
By Andrew Martinez
May 5, 2020
The state’s highest court will weigh the release of some of Massachusetts’ 7,000-plus prisoners in another high-profile criminal justice showdown Thursday, one month after criminal defense groups fought for the release of pretrial detainees with limited success.
Prisoners’ Legal Services, representing inmates in Department of Correction facilities, will spar with counsel for the DOC at 1 p.m. Thursday before the Supreme Judicial Court as COVID-19 cases in prisons continues to rise.
“Our clients are becoming infected at rates that far exceed the general public and people are needlessly dying because we are choosing to apply a lesser standard of prevention and care in prisons and jails,” Elizabeth Matos, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, claimed in a statement Tuesday.
The DOC said last week eight inmates in their facilities have died from COVID-19 complications. Of the DOC’s 7,381 inmates as of Tuesday, 18% of 1,862 tested inmates tested positive for COVID-19, a new report revealed.