Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast: COVID and the Incarcerated

Many jails and prisons across the country have now become coronavirus hotspots.  For example, news reports about the infamous Rikers Island jail in New York estimate that 12 hundred inmates are infected and 10 have died.  An estimated 800 correctional officers have been infected and of those 8 have passed.  There are estimates that over 560 prisoners in federal custody have tested positive and 24 have died.

Social distancing in jail is impossible.  So, across the country, large numbers of inmates are being released to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Of course, there are also risks from releasing inmates.  Some released prisoners have been rearrested for committed new crimes.  What effect has releasing so many inmates had on jails and on courts?  What effect has it had on our communities?

This week, we continue our weekly podcast series, “Coronavirus: How are Courts Coping with the Crisis,” in a conversation with our panelists.  This episode explores jurisdictions that have reduced their jail populations and have adjusted their time payment plans to accommodate those at risk of contracting the coronavirus.  We look at how the release decisions have been made, how judges and staff still working the courthouse are protecting themselves, and how our communities view these inmate releases.

This week’s panelists are:

  • Zenell Brown, Court Administrator for Wayne County, Michigan (City of Detroit).
  • Angie VanSchoick, Court Administrator in Breckenridge, Colorado.
  • Mike Roddy, Court Executive Officer for the Superior Court in San Diego, California.
  • Mark Weinberg, Court Administrator for Valusia County, Florida (Daytona Beach).
  • Liz Rambo, Trial Court Administrator for the Lane County Circuit Court, (Eugene, Oregon).
  • Rick Pierce with the Pennsylvania Administrative Office of the Courts.

Listen to this week’s episode

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