Lawmakers push for decarceration to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among inmates

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Right now, many of the states elected officials are working together to help inmates get out prisons and jails in Massachusetts, but in that process they are running into resistance from some of the sheriffs at the correctional facilities.

According to Massachusetts Public Health Association, only about 22 percent of the state’s incarcerated population that has been tested for Covid-19. In many of the state’s correctional facilities it is nearly impossible to socially distance and there seems to be a lack of PPE.

Lawmakers like Needham State Senator Becca Rausch believe that decarceration and early release is a good way to protect inmates during this public health crisis.  

“A lot of the people who are currently incarcerated are held for non violence infractions and those infractions are not worthy of a death sentence,” Sen. Rausch said.

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi has been one of the outspoken opponents of early releases. He told 22News that multiple inmates who have been released already due to Covid-19 concerns at the jail, have already re-offended.

Since early April, close to a thousand inmates have been released in Massachusetts. As parts of the economy start to re-open it is unclear if the early releases will continue.

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