Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and 11 other New York members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to release prisoners — to protect them from the Wuhan virus. A “significant amount” of them, no less.
In the May 22 letter, the signatories argue that “releasing a significant number of incarcerated people and ensuring compliance with public health standards will surely save lives, both of those who are incarcerated and of others living in the community.”
The letter also reads, in part:
In late March, you issued a directive to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to release up to 1,100 people who were incarcerated on technical parole violation holds in New York State jails.
While an important step, this policy directive left too many people, including hundreds of people accused of parole violations, in local jails and did not touch the state prison population,” the said.
We urge you now to exercise leadership and compassion to protect people living and working in jails and prisons.
Moreover, the House Democrats urged Cuomo to be far more aggressive than he was with his March release — suggesting that not only would the lives of released prisoners be saved; lives of correctional staff and their family members, and individuals in the surrounding communities would be saved, as well.
Finally, the Democrats busted out the power close.
As Governor of the state with the most reported cases of COVID-19 and as Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, you have the power not only to lead the Empire State in releasing substantial numbers of people from prison, but to show other governors that this laudable goal can be achieved.
We urge you to take quick and decisive action on a much larger scale. Ignoring this looming crisis promises to harm or kill so many more.
So let’s back up the bus, a bit. All the way to the release in March of those “up to 1,100 prisoners” that Nadler, AOC & Co. cite as reason to release even more prisoners.
By April 10th, the number of prisoners released from NYC jails due to the virus grew to more than 1,500. Six days later, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city was “buckling down,” after having experienced “some recidivism” among released criminals.
Unbelievably, de Blasio called the crimes committed by previously-convicted criminals “unconscionable”:
I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done. We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling.
We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.
“Unconscionable” and “buckling down” aside, it should come as a shock to no one when previously-convicted criminals commit additional crimes when released from jail — the more violent the prisoner, potentially the more violent the additional crimes.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea warned in April that, while releasing non-violent prisoners due to the virus was a compassionate thing to do, dangerous prisoners were potentially being released, as well.
Shea cited one example of a man arrested on accusations of setting his girlfriend’s apartment door on fire. After being released, he allegedly threatened his girlfriend again.
Also in April, a Florida man freed from jail because of the virus killed a man the next day, as reported by law enforcement officials in Tampa.
Courtesy of NBC News:
Edward Williams, 26, of Tampa, was arrested Monday and is facing charges of second-degree murder, gun possession, violently resisting an officer, drug possession and paraphernalia possession, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Williams was freed last month, six days after being arrested on suspicion of heroin possession, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, according to jail records.
To be sure, not all prisoners released because of the virus landed in jail for the commission of violent crimes, and a majority of those released have not committed crimes post-release.
That said, the “compassion” expressed by the Left for prisoners stands in stark contrast to the contempt for people who refuse to wear masks in public — let alone, worshipers barred from their churches.