While we need to address the serious issue of coronavirus in jails, releasing prisoners en masse is not the right solution, holds Jonathan S. Tobin of The New York Post. Rushing to empty our jails could create a public safety hazard just as bad as the virus. While some precautions to protect elderly prisoners should be put in place, violent criminals should not be given a chance to hurt others again. Additionally, they are not automatically guaranteed to stay at home and self-isolate. Police officers have already been given new guidelines due to the coronavirus, but they should to continue to be able to make arrests as needed to keep society safe.
Jails are hotbeds for disease. Outbreaks of COVID-19 in prisons will first harm the inmates there, and then the rest of society, writes Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic. Sick prisoners will flood and overwhelm our hospitals if we don't take the necessary precautions. American jails are already overcrowded, putting inmates and prison staff at high risk of infection. No spread will be contained in jails; coronavirus is bound to spread to the rest of society. It is essential to release certain prisoners, such as nonviolent and minor offenders, the elderly, and those nearing the end of their sentences, only so can we slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.