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Biden Administration Should Protect People Sent from Prisons to Home Confinement

A last-minute memo by the Trump administration threatens to send back behind bars people who were released to help fight COVID-19. The Biden administration can undo this and go even further.

President Joe Biden should allow people released from prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve out their sentences at home, a new op-ed argues. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In an op-ed published in USA Today, Arnold Ventures Executive Vice President Jeremy Travis, FAMM President Kevin Ring, and Justice Action Network Federal Director Inimai Chettiar called on President Joe Biden to allow people released from prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve out the sentences at home.

The Bureau of Prisons moved thousands of people out from behind bars in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a memo issued by the Trump Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel ordered that thousands of people successfully transferred to home confinement be sent back to prison once the pandemic emergency ends. 

Under discretion granted by a bipartisan majority in Congress, the Bureau of Prisons placed more than 21,000 prisoners on home confinement. 

This effort saved lives, reunited families, protected public safety and saved taxpayers millions of dollars on unnecessary incarceration,” Travis, Ring and Chettiar write in their op-ed. 

Pulling people back into prisons could undo this good work and inflict unnecessary harm on thousands of families and communities.

Luckily, the Biden administration has the opportunity to undo this last-minute decision by the Trump administration and also expand the number of people released to home confinement.

First, it should immediately rescind the Trump administration’s cruel and counterproductive memo that would send thousands of people back to prison,” the op-ed states. Next, it should direct the Bureau of Prisons to identify even more people who could be safely released early back to society. Priority should be given to those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Read the entire op-ed here.