Pass HB 37: Public Health Emergency Credits
Since March 2020, like all Delaware residents, the people housed in Delaware correctional facilities have been affected greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no real way to prevent the spread of a highly contagious disease inside a prison where inmates share cells, communal recreation, and dining spaces, and sometimes bunk in dormitory-style rooms. But public health recommendations have made clear one critical tactic for mitigating the risk of COVID-19 in prisons: Expand early release programming.
Sen. Marie Pinkney and Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown have introduced a bill in-line with these public health recommendations: House Bill 37, the Public Health Emergency Credit bill.
This legislation would help relieve some of the dangers in our prison system created by COVID-19 and offset some of the effects the disease has had in our detention facilities by creating a new method for early release.
This would only be available to those already set to re-enter society within the next year, but could really help free up space in prisons in the short-term to reduce the impact of the pandemic for those who still must live and work in DOC facilities.
The effects of the pandemic have led to:
Closures of educational and employment programs
The suspension of visitation by family members and loved ones inside the prisons
Restrictions on the opportunities to earn good time credits
Drastically limited avenues for early release
Significantly more punishing conditions
And, tragically, 12 deaths from COVID-19
We must act fast to pass HB 37, sign it into law, and reduce our prison population to save lives through the pandemic.
Please consider writing a letter to your legislators in support of HB 37.