In letter to governor, Del. ACLU urges early release for some inmates amid pandemic
DELAWARE – The ACLU of Delaware is calling on Governor John Carney and the Department of Corrections to do more to protect inmates as Covid cases across the state continues to rise.
Mike Brickner, the Executive Director of the ACLU, says there have been hundreds of cases within the prison system in the state, whether that be inmates, correctional officers, or staff.
When an inmate tests positive for the virus, they’re placed in a separate area to quarantine. But Brickner says that’s not always the best idea because those inmates have reported being cut off from mail services and communication with family members. So the letter from the ACLU stresses the importance of finding a way to keep inmates safe but also making sure all of their rights are upheld.
“We want to make sure that even though some individuals may have to enter into quarantine, that the state still has a basic responsibility to make sure that they have access to the mail, they have access to personal hygiene materials,” he said.
Brickner says the ACLU is also calling on the state to depopulate the prison, something that neighboring states including Maryland and New Jersey have already taken steps to do. That would mean releasing inmates who are close to their release date and any inmates who are being held for not being able to post bail.