TRENTON, NJ – The Democratic Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, recently signed a bill into law that will cause the release of thousands of inmates in November, reportedly to combat inmate infection rates of COVID-19.
Many have said the brazen move was done without taking the interests of the victims, or future victims, into account.
More than 2,000 inmates could be released from New Jersey state prisons on Nov. 4. as part of the Garden State's plan to curb the spread of #COVID19 #coronavirus in the prison system. @sheriffgolden voices his concerns.
— New Jersey News Network (@njnntv) October 19, 2020
The law, known as S2519, will let loose over 2,000 convicted prisoners back out into general population. They are expected to be released on November 4th, the day after the general election.
In addition to this large number of convicts being released before their sentence has been served, roughly another 1,000 will be released through January of 2021 according to NJ Advance Media.
“Reducing our prison population will undoubtedly further our mission to combat COVID-19.”
Inmates chosen to be released early are those that have less than a year left on their sentence according to Murphy’s office. The law will give those people an opportunity to have eight months removed off of their sentence.
Those who were convicted of aggravated sexual assault or murder, as well as habitual sex offenders will not be eligible under the law. Murphy believes that this move will allow for a greater reduction in the jail population and increase opportunities for greater social distancing.
Those who are in favor of the new law believe that it will not only add benefit to the jail population, but to the correctional staff as well.
In a joint statement, Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Shavonda Sumter, and Raj Mukherji said:
“If we can enhance public health and safety by releasing eligible prisoners who are getting out anyway, we can effectively help reduce the spread of the virus in these facilities and reduce risk to the community upon their release.”
To their point, almost 3,000 inmates and 781 correctional employees have tested positive for the virus since March of this year in the jail system.
Of those inmates who are being released early, Murphy’s office advised that over 230 of them do not have any residential plans. A lawyer of Murphy, Parimal Garg, spoke about what they are doing to ensure these inmates have some place to go upon release.
“We’ve been working closely with our department of corrections and the state parole board, as well as nonprofits and advocacy groups to ensure that inmates will have access to housing and social services.”
Murphy claims that he understands that housing for the released convicts is an important part in reintegrating them with society.
“You cut down dramatically on recidivism, you cut down dramatically on life’s challenges if you got a plan that’s wholistic, including where somebody’s gonna live.”
Democratic Senator Nellie Pou also felt the new law was a step in the right direction:
“People in the state’s custody have the same fundamental right to health and safety as everyone else in our society.
“Given that certain inmates are reasonably released early, particularly those nearing the end of their sentences, this legislation not only gives them security but it will thin the population inside the prisons, more easily provide for social distancing, and keep everyone, including correctional officers, safer.”
However, former Republican Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg has concerns over who may be released. She is concerned that just because someone has not been determined to be in the courts as a repeat offender, even if they are convicted of a serious offense, they still may be let out on the streets.
“I’m a survivor. This is certainly something that affected my carrier in the Assembly, which is out there, so I do a lot of domestic violence advocacy work. I’m with Forever Your Overwatch Foundation that helps provide protection services so from the Foundation perspective it’s something concerning.
“You have someone who is just coming out of prison if they feel like they have no where to go and there are no services they may try to go back to their victim.”
She also pointed out that victims of these inmates thought they were safe until their scheduled release date. Now, that has changed.
On that, she said:
“They are mentally, emotionally, physically preparing themselves for something that is a year out. It’s not just giving victims of serious crimes here the time to prepare mentally, emotionally, physically for that release.
“Yeah you put in a no contact order but we know how helpful restraining orders are. That doesn’t give them a sense of protection. So we are really concerned about the victims.”
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Just-released prisoner breaks into house, ties up homeowner at knifepoint and threatens to murder her
March 25, 2020
Left wing, progressive district attorney’s and prison officials, in order to show how woke they are and how they’re such humanitarians have taken to releasing prisoners early over coronavirus concerns.
Most normal people understand that this is probably not a great idea, and those with a background in law enforcement know that it probably won’t end well. For a woman in Utah, that was the case and she could have paid for her life because of it.
On March 19 in American Fork, UT., a man who was recently released from a halfway house early due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 “forcibly entered a home…(and) using a large, serrated knife, he threatened the homeowner and tied her up with shoelaces,” according to charging documents.
Prisoner released early over COVID-19 concerns allegedly broke into woman’s home, tied her up at knifepoint, and threatened to kill her https://t.co/UZpYebTLoy #Utah #Halfwayhouse via @theblaze pic.twitter.com/kn0Bk98OXn
— Chris 🇺🇸 (@Chris_1791) March 24, 2020
The victim told police officers that she was sleeping when she was awoken by the sound of creaking stairs and discovered a man she had never seen before standing in her room holding a knife “raised toward his head with the knife pointing down,” according to a police affidavit.
“The victim began screaming and yelling, at which point the male told her to be quiet or he was going to cut her head off,” the affidavit states.
Sounds like a solid, stable guy there…just the kind you want loose on the streets. Unbelievable.
The man, identified as Joshua J. Haskell, 42, of American Fork then tied up the woman’s wrists and ankles with shoelaces. He told her that he was going to take her bank cards, cash, her can and PIN numbers, and that if she gave him the incorrect numbers he would return and kill her, authorities said.
The victim’s son heard his mother screaming and called 911. Upon arrival of the officers, Haskell was still in the bedroom with the woman.
Once he realized that police were downstairs, Haskell got into the bed with the woman and told her to tell officers he was her “lover,” the arrest affidavit said.
While Haskell adjusted the sheets to make it look like he was asleep, the woman got out of the bed and ran downstairs. She “ran downstairs to officers in a panicked and horrified manner,” police wrote. Haskell was then arrested at gunpoint.
In speaking to the officers, she told them that “she was sure she was going to die and that she was just waiting for the suspect to stab her,” the affidavit stated.
Haskell had drugs and drug paraphernalia on him at the time of the incident, police said. He had previously been convicted of drug-related crimes at least four times, according to the arrest paperwork. He also has a lengthy criminal history.
“It is of note that Haskell had recently been incarcerated at the Utah State Prison after previously being released on parole and committing a parole violation.
Within the last few days, Haskell was released from the Utah State Prison to a halfway house…However due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, he was suddenly released on (March 17),” police wrote in their affidavit.
For the most recent arrest, Haskell was charged Monday in 4th District Court with aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies, aggravated kidnapping, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and drug possession, third-degree felonies.
In addition, at the time of his arrest Haskell reportedly had an active warrant out for his arrest for misdemeanor theft.
Why was Haskell let out early? Some “experts” had warned that the coronavirus could “wreak havoc” on correctional facilities in the United States, after which several states and counties began to implement early release strategies to prevent the spread of the disease.
Critics of the early release program have said that by releasing criminals back on the streets during the pandemic, it will not make communities safer, but rather put them at risk.
This is especially true they say because law enforcement will likely be overrun to a degree by increased calls for service with forces that will likely be themselves reduced by the virus.
For prison inmates, the coronavirus outbreak must be a dream come true. Across the country, state after state is releasing prisoners out of coronavirus concerns.
While most of those states claim that the prisoners being released are either “at-risk” prisoners, or low-level offenders, the incident in Utah will become a common occurrence because clearly more serious offenders are getting released.
It is interesting that states like California, which has shut down gun shops as “non-essential” businesses, they are letting hundreds, if not thousands of prisoners out onto the streets. With over-matched police, prisoners out on the streets and people unable to purchase guns to defend themselves, this will probably not turn out well.
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