Speak Out: No reason to release prisoners

There’s no plan to expedite inmate releases as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Delaware’s prison facilities are now operating at less than 75% capacity, according to the Department of Correction. COVID-19 largely has been limited to a minimum security housing unit at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and there’s ample space to handle more cases, the DOC said. DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis discussed an array of issues during a nearly 50-minute question and answer session on Monday night. “The other side of releasing inmates is where do they go,” she said. “We’re all about re-entry, now we’re just going to release a bunch of people with no place to go, no health care, no job, no prospect for a job.Exactly how does that help us?”

• Have they completed their sentence? Then don’t send them anywhere. It’s not rocket science. – Chris Werner

• What’s the difference between letting them out now or on their release date? They will face the same thing then. This makes no sense! – Tina Husfelt

• As a former forensic social worker, I can attest to the fact they need linkage to various resources, shelter, continuum of care, etc., and it needs to all be lined up prior to their release to reacclimate successfully and minimize recidivism. It’s easier said than done! They are offered classes and assistance, especially those with known release dates. Honestly, they have it pretty good all things considering. Regardless, their release is a process and should not be rushed. Have you ever worked in a prison and know firsthand as I do?– Erin Greenberg

• There are jobs out here. Right now is one of the best times for a person re-entering to become gainfully employed, because employers are relaxing their background restrictions because they need working bodies during the pandemic. After the pandemic is over, the challenge with employment will most likely return. – Lici Aline

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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