Our idiot legislators screw things up again! Failing to release of some 700 prisoners nearing the end of their sentences accomplished nothing except costing YOU, the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Because D O C opposed this Bill (naturally, it is “job preservation” for them to keep prisoners as long as possible!), legislators were afraid to do the right thing and pass it for fear of losing donations from the guards’ union!
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware prisoners will receive no credit off their sentence for enduring the pandemic behind bars. Legislation introduced earlier this year aimed at providing prisoners time off their sentences, known as good time, died without a vote as Democratic legislators, who control both chambers of the General Assembly, sat on the proposal through the end of this year’s lawmaking session.
“Sadly, it is dead,” said state Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, who sponsored the legislation.
The most expansive of two such proposals would have given some prisoners about 240 days off their sentences leading to the release of some 700 prisoners nearing the end of their sentences.
Minor-Brown and supporters argued that those in lockup deserved some consideration for the particular harshness of the pandemic behind bars where social distancing is more difficult.
More than 2,000 prisoners across the state tested positive for the virus and 13 died, according to the Delaware Department of Correction. The virus also saw more than 700 correction staff infected. When recently checked, there were only three known cases of the virus among those held by DOC.
During the height of the pandemic, prisoners were disproportionately infected compared with Delaware’s population; went months unable to see their loved ones in weekly, in-person visits; lost potential for good time through in-prison employment; and saw less opportunity for rehabilitative programming.
Prison officials opposed the legislative push, stating it was unnecessary, infeasible for their staff and that releasing prisoners would endanger the public. Gov. John Carney previously said he didn’t support early releases for prisoners due to the pandemic.
This comes during a legislative session where officials said the state was abnormally flush with revenue.
Lawmakers recently used those unplanned dollars to pass a $221 million supplemental spending bill that pays for disability services, a statewide police body-worn camera program, funding for disadvantaged students and mental health services to students, among a litany of other programs.
“It feels like a complete failure, although it is out of our hands,” Minor-Brown said of the prison legislation.
He pointed to legislation that passed both chambers that he said will open up greater opportunities for prisoners to work inside DOC facilities and earn good time in lieu of payment. The legislation also allows for good time for completion of certain prison programs and increases the total number of good-time days an inmate can earn in a year from 160 to 180.
Fabian Cesar, a man imprisoned at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, called the failure of the larger pandemic-credit legislation unsurprising from the “Delaware Way.”
“Justice, true equal protection under the law for all citizens regardless of their status, and progress comes at a snails pace,” he said via an email Thursday.