Everywhere in the United States, state and local officials are doing just about everything possible to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that is crippling many communities worldwide. For the most part, they are doing a good job. America as a whole is suffering much less than quite a few other countries, thanks to these valiant efforts.
However, some decisions seem not to be so wise and, in fact, might be more detrimental to society in those communities than helpful.
Take New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent decision to release hundreds of prisoners from Rikers Island, for example.
The Democratic mayor announced on Tuesday that he would be releasing 300 prisoners from Rikers and would be doing so “immediately.” de Blasio did explain that these men and women would have to meet specific requirements to be eligible for release, though. Firstly, they must be over 70 years old. Secondly, they must be serving time due to non-violent crimes only. And lastly, they must have less than a year left to serve.
The mayor stated that “Some have many months, some have only a few months, some only weeks, but I’m going to treat this category across the board. He explained that he is working closely with the prison to identify prisoners who meet these criteria and each case will be looked at “individually.” de Blasio clarified that as of right now, he doesn’t feel “comfortable” releasing anyone, regardless of age or time served, if they have committed violent or sexual crimes.
And while the mayor stated this is to be done as soon as possible, he noted that it would likely take several days to process the inmates’ release.
In addition, de Blasio said that he was in discussion with state officials and district attorneys to possibly release another 800 prisoners in the near future.
Now, I’m 75% sure this act was done with good intentions, to prevent the jail and prison system from being overrun with the virus and to save those inmates from that spread. After all, those over 70 have proved to be most at risk and New York, as many have said, has become the “epicenter” of the virus in America.
As of Thursday morning, there were 33,066 known cases in the state and 325 deaths. Of those, 20,011 cases and 280 deaths were in New York City alone.