The Release High-Risk Inmates In New Jersey During COVID-19
Governor Murphy is expanding the number of inmates eligible for release during COVID-19
On April 10, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 124 significantly expanding inmates who are now eligible for release, via either Parole or emergency home confinement. The Governor, by virtue of his Executive Order, tasked the Department of Corrections with creating the following four (4) “Emergency Medical Referral Lists:”
- Both 60 years or older and possess underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of death or serious injury from COVID-19 (the “First Emergency Medical Referral List”);
- DOC shall generate a list of remaining inmates who are either 60 years or older or possess underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of death or serious injury from COVID-19 (the “Second Emergency Medical Referral List”);
- DOC shall generate a list of inmates who were denied parole in the past year and who do not already appear on the First or Second Emergency Medical Referral List (the “Third Emergency Medical Referral List”);
- DOC shall generate a list of inmates who are serving a prison sentence with either a maximum release date within 90 days of the date the list is generated, or a parole eligibility date within 90 days of the date the list is generated, and who do not already appear on the First, Second, or Third Emergency Medical Referral List (the “Fourth Emergency Medical Referral List”); and
After the Fourth Emergency Medical Referral List is generated, and on a periodic basis of at least once a week, DOC shall submit Supplemental Emergency Medical Referral Lists that include any additional inmates that DOC subsequently concludes face a heightened risk of death or serious injury from COVID19 based on their age and/or underlying medical conditions.
Upon producing these lists, the Governor Ordered that the Department of Corrections send this list of the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice and to all the County Prosecutors. Both of these organizations are Ordered to notify any victim about the possibility of these inmates either being paroled early or confined to emergency medical home confinement. At this point, the County Prosecutor and any victims are allowed to provide any objections to the release of these inmates.
The New Jersey State Parole Board will then begin emergency telephonic hearings for each inmate who is either eligible for Parole within ninety (90) days or who has already been denied parole. They shall conduct these hearings based on the inmate’s placement in the “Emergency Medical Referral List.”
For Inmates who are not eligible for Parole, but are still named on the Emergency Medical Referral an Emergency Medical Review Committee shall prepare a recommendation regarding
each inmate on the list as to whether the Commissioner should authorize a period of emergency medical temporary home confinement.
Anyone charged convicted of a “No-Early Release Act” offense will not be eligible to be released to emergency medical home confinement.
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