To protect the American public from COVID-19, schools have closed, non-essential stores have been shuttered, people with desk jobs have started working from home, and public gatherings have been prohibited.
But the criminal justice system continues to hum along as though nothing has changed: Most prisons and many jails have done very little to reduce the population density that puts both incarcerated people and staff at grave risk.
To justify their lack of action, DOC directors, governors, sheriffs, and district attorneys imply that saving the lives of people behind bars is not worth the inevitable public safety cost of releasing them. This talking point is as old as time.
It’s also out of step with history.