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What Is the Status of Federal Prisoners Released Due to COVID-19?

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East hartford criminal defense lawyerThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of everyone in the United States. Even though most people have been able to take steps to protect their health and safety, people who are serving sentences in prison have struggled to avoid the risks of infection. To address the risks that inmates face, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has allowed for the release of thousands of prisoners, placing them on home confinement during the pandemic. However, the future status of these prisoners is uncertain, and many are concerned that they may be required to return to prison. Convicted offenders and their family members may need to consult with a criminal defense attorney to determine whether they can take legal action to address this issue.

Prisoner Release Under the CARES Act

In March of 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided multiple types of relief to people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the provisions of this act allowed for the early release of federal prisoners. This option was usually available for nonviolent offenders who had served at least half of their sentences and who met criteria such as good behavior during their sentence or a high risk of health complications due to COVID-19. 

After being released, prisoners have been able to continue serving their sentences while under home confinement. Most of the time, prisoners have been required to wear an electronic monitor such as an ankle bracelet. Prisoners may also be restricted to traveling only for work-related purposes, and they may be required to submit to regular drug testing. While these restrictions can be strict, home confinement has allowed many prisoners to reconnect with their family members, obtain employment, and pursue education.

Unfortunately, prisoners who have been released may be required to return to prison in the future. Before President Trump left office, his administration issued a memo stating that prisoners who are on home confinement will be required to report back to prison once the COVID-19 pandemic has been declared over by the federal government. Around 23,000 prisoners have been released under this program, and thousands of these prisoners are facing uncertainty about whether they will be forced to leave their families and the lives they have begun to rebuild. While advocates have called for the Biden administration to extend the compassionate release program or use clemency to end prisoners’ sentences, no action has yet been taken.

Contact Our Hartford Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are a prisoner who has been released and placed on home confinement, you may be concerned about whether you will be able to maintain the life you have built for yourself and your family. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you determine your options in these cases, and we can help you petition for clemency or compassionate release. We will work to protect your rights as you address these matters, and we will advocate for you throughout legal proceedings during your case. To get the legal help you need, contact our Connecticut criminal defense lawyer at 860-290-8690 and schedule a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/565504-inmates-grapple-with-uncertainty-over-biden-prison-plan?rl=1

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/thousands-low-level-us-inmates-released-pandemic-could-be-headed-back-prison-2021-04-11/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-08/prisoners-sent-home-early-by-the-cares-act-dread-the-pandemic-s-end



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