By Ava Schwartzapfel
WASHINGTON, DC— In the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which included a release of immunocompromised prisoners to continue serving their sentences from their homes.
Intended to keep infection rates low in prisons, “Home Confinement” was granted to more than 30,000 eligible incarcerated, according to the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union).
The major issue now is the return of these incarcerated to their respective prisons upon the improvement of the COVID-19 pandemic (NOTE: at least as it seemed prior to the past few weeks of an increase of infections with the Omigran variant).
An overwhelming number of citizens found returning prisoners to incarceration to be unfair and immoral and began advocating for President Biden’s administration to act on this matter; causing enough of an uproar to spark further investigation by the ACLU.
It is within the power of the President to grant clemency, or allow continued leniency, for the thousands of inmates currently subject to home confinement, asserts the ACLU, noting there are very strict guidelines that accompany home confinement, and those released have been routinely monitored throughout their time away from prisons.
Such clemency would only be available to those who are properly adhering to such guidelines and demonstrating model behavior, insists the ACLU.
The ACLU created a poll that asked citizens’ opinions on a number of different aspects of this issue, including the (1) fairness of forcing incarcerated to return to prisons after being reunited with society, and (2) their opinion on President Biden’s job as president so far, whether or not they support President Biden using his power to grant clemency to these inmates.
The results of this poll revealed, said the ACLU on its website, that people identifying on all ends of the political spectrum, for the most part, support the president granting clemency for these incarcerated at home.
Some of the most notable statistics discovered in this poll are that 63 percent of voters across the country support continued leniency for those currently serving their sentences at home due to Covid-19, regardless of their political affiliations.
Fifty-three percent of Republican voters voted that it is unfair to return these incarcerated back to prison after they have been released, and 84 percent of Democratic voters support the president using his power to either end or shorten the sentences of certain, pre-approved incarcerated, the ACLU website notes.
Information from swing states and districts, or areas that do not have a particular political affiliation to which they are usually associated indicated overwhelming support in favor of continued freedom from prison for those COVID-19 released.
The ACLU shares the opinion of Danny Franklin, a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, who explains that there are few issues in our current society where the overwhelming majority agree on an outcome, regardless of their political affiliation. This, Franklin explains, speaks loudly on behalf of these early-released pandemic incarcerated.