Published on: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Today, April 1, 2020, the Federal Public & Community Defenders sent a letter, available here, to U.S. Attorney William P. Barr urging him to implement measures that DOJ can take now to avert catastrophe from the spread of COVID-19 in the federal prisoner population. Specifically, the Defenders ask Attorney General Barr to exercise his authority, under Section 12003(b)(2) of the CARES Act, "to allow BOP to transfer many more people to the releative safety of home confinement. The letter makes three arguments, along with numerous citations, to support the contention that DOJ should "immediately reduce the number of people entering federal detention and aggresively transfer or release indiviudals who are already incarcerated into the community:"
- Jails and Prisons are Unprepared and Unsafe. Experts Agree that Rapid Decarceration is Necessary to Prevent a Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak.
- DOJ's Claims in Court that its Jails and Prisons are Safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic are False.
- [DOJ's] March 26 Policy Erects Complex Barriers that Unnecessarily Limit Transfers to the Relative Safety of Home Confinement.
The Training Division is providing COVID-19 resources and materials, updated multiple times daily, to assist defenders and CJA panel attorneys understand and litigate issues releated to the COVID-19 pandemic.