Topline: Put behind bars public figures like Costs Cosby, R. Kelly and others are asking for early release as coronavirus rises across the country. Some states are releasing non-violent culprits. Prisoners are considered especially vulnerable to the infection due to their close quarters.
- Comedian Costs Cosby petitioned for early release through a lawyer, who in a statement cited Cosby’s blindness and senior age as concerns as he remains behind bars.
- Singer R. Kelly asked a Chicago federal judge last week to release him, claiming in a statement: “Requiring individuals to live in a custodial prison setting is tantamount to making them beverage toxin.”
- Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, who requested early release in February due to a terminal kidney condition, made a second demand on March 18 due to coronavirus.
- Former Trump individual attorney Michael Cohen asked to be released early, while his Twitter account shared a petition supporting house confinement for non-violent federal inmates.
- Former Rainy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti asked a California court Monday to release him, pointing out the jeopardization of his health inside jail.
- The judge supervising Tekashi 6 ix9ine’s case said he would have ordered home confinement for the asthmatic rapper, had he understood about the coronavirus in December. Lawyer Lance Lazzaro stated in a response that the rapper must be immediately released.
Crucial quote: “I genuinely believe the prisons are ticking time bombs,” Federal Defenders of New York executive director David Patton told the Associated Press. “They’re overcrowded and unhygienic in the finest of times. They don’t offer suitable medical care in the best of times, and these certainly are not the finest of times.”
Big numbers: 2.2 million. That’s how numerous individuals are incarcerated in the U.S., which has the highest recognized rate of imprisonment in the world. Some 146,000 prisoners are within the federal prison system, with an extra 21,000 held at facilities run by personal contractors, according to CBS N ews.
Key background: Attorney General Expense Barr on March 26 directed federal jail officials to recognize medically compromised inmates for home confinement. In city and county jails, coronavirus cases have been increasing (with over 330 inmates and personnel diagnosed) while almost 60 cases have actually been verified on the federal level.
Petitions by convicted sex culprit Cosby, accused federal sex trafficker Kelly, convicted extortionist Avenatti and Cohen, convicted for lying to Congress (along with project finance offenses and tax evasion) have been denied. On the other hand, California and Georgia, along with New York City and Houston, Texas, are allowing early release for thousands of nonviolent transgressors in state and regional jails to avoid even more infections. Complicating early releases, the AP reported, are the court shutdowns across the nation, as skeleton staffs and hearings held by video conference more hold-up proceedings.
Tangent: Hollywood manufacturer Harvey Weinstein, convicted for rape and criminal sexual act, was reported on March 23 to have tested favorable for COVID-19. Weinstein, apparently in poor health from back and eyesight problems, had previously undergone a heart treatment at a Manhattan health center on March 5 to insert a stent, which remedied a obstruction. Spokesperson Juda Engelmayer said in a Thursday statement, however, that Weinstein tested negative at New York City’s Rikers Island jail, and has not had any “underlying signs” that were “beyond his ‘regular’ breathing issues and chest pains.”