Jail Release: Getting Out of a PA Jail During a Pandemic

Jail Release: Getting Out of a PA Jail During a Pandemic

Getting Out of Jail

The COVID-19 virus has created disruptions not just in the areas of health and economy, but has also posed challenges for the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania. At the Law Offices of Basil D. Beck III in Norristown, PA, we are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights in criminal cases and ensuring that they are not exposed to the risks of coronavirus. 

Whether it is securing an early release from the prison in view of the infection risks, or helping a client avoid jail time for an offense in the current situation, we will use the full force of law to provide you with a strong legal defense. 

The DOC is Preparing to Release Prisoners

The PA Department of Corrections (DOC) reported on April 1st that two inmates at a Montgomery County prison have tested positive for COVID-19 virus. John Wetzel, the Secretary of Corrections, further said that four prison staffers have also tested positive. 

Pennsylvania houses nearly 45,000 people across 25 state prisons. All of these people have been under quarantine. Their movements have been restricted and they are being served meals inside the cells. 

Looking at these conditions and the high risk of contracting the virus, the authorities are considering the release of a large number of prisoners. Wetzel said that about one-fourth of the prison population (nearly 12,000 prison inmates across the state) are at high risk of infection – whom the CDC would consider “medically vulnerable” for contracting by coronavirus.

The DOC has announced the following preventative steps

  • Furloughing of paroled people from centers to home plans
  • Maximizing parole releases in coordination with the parole board
  • Carrying out a review of parole detainers for people in state prisons and county jails 
  • Expediting the process of release for individuals with a pending approved home plan 
  • Conducting a review of cases within the state prison system where an inmate is beyond the minimum sentence

Seeking Legislation for Release of Inmates

While officials are considering the possibility of jail release for some inmates to mitigate the COVID-19 impact on the PA prison system, county prosecutors are urging lawmakers to pass legislation to make things easier. The PA District Attorneys Association says that a legislative solution in these circumstances would be reasonable, considering the health risks from the pandemic.

Wetzel stated that the administration has proposed the release of prison inmates who are serving time for nonviolent offenses and are within nine months of their scheduled release, or within one year of their date of release if they are considered at a heightened risk of infection from the COVID-19 virus.

All Trials are Suspended in PA

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania entered an order on April 1st regarding its State courts, which said that all jury and non-jury trials in the state, whether civil or criminal, are suspended. Jurors will not report for jury duty up to April 30th. 

All pleadings or legal papers that were scheduled to be filed between March 19th and April 30th will be deemed to have been filed on time as long as they are filed by May 1st. 

We are Here to Help You!

Attorney Basil D. Beck III has more than two decades of experience in handling criminal and personal injury cases throughout Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties in eastern Pennsylvania. He has helped thousands of people achieve successful outcomes, no matter how complicated their case. To schedule a consultation, call 610-239-8870 today.