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NJ Governor Signs Executive Order To Release Some State Prisoners

Gov. Phil Murphy was quick to point out that this order will not apply to those convicted of "serious crimes" like murder and sexual assualt.
Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 10, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced today he is using an executive order to release some 'high-risk' inmates from New Jersey state prisons to help prevent more coronavirus deaths behind bars. 

MURPHY: "Today I am signing an executive order to help preserve the balance between health on the one hand and public health and public safety on the other."

Murphy was quick to point out that this order will not apply to those convicted of "serious crimes" like murder and sexual assualt. He also mentioned everyone who is considered for release will be individually evaluated. 

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, one inmate and at least one staff member have died from coronavirus complications. A total of 129 staff members and 17 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Murphy is hoping this order will slow the spread of the virus inside the state's facilities. 

MURPHY: "Social distancing is extremely hard to accomplish in a prison setting and allowing some of our most vulnerable individuals who do not pose a public safety threat to temporarily leave prison will protect both their health and the health and safety of the men and women working in our correctional facilities."

U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the governors of California and Illinois have all taken similar steps to decrease the number of inmates in prison and increase the use of home confinement. 

This order by the governor for state prisons comes just a couple weeks after New Jersey's Supreme Court ordered the release of hundreds of inmates in New Jersey county jails to curb outbreaks.