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Sick, elderly prisoners are at risk for covid-19. A new D.C. law makes it easier for them to seek early release.

Sick, elderly prisoners are at risk for covid-19. A new D.C. law makes it easier for them to seek early release.

Date: December 30, 2020

In Washington, DC, a new law has expanded the number of people eligible to apply for compassionate release. Prisons are hot spots for COVID-19, leaving elderly and immunocompromised incarcerated people especially vulnerable to the virus. The new DC law allows elderly incarcerated people to point to the COVID-19 pandemic as an “extraordinary and compelling” reason to seek release from long prison sentences.

“Covid was the spark that made compassionate release a reality and forced us to think about old and sick prisoners and the fate that awaited them if they were to remain in prison without ways to adequately protect themselves,” said Jessica Steinberg, a George Washington University Law School professor who helped draft the legislation approved by the D.C. Council. “It forced us to take stock of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in our prisons.”

Read the full article in The Washington Post.