The following can be attributed to Sonia Kumar, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland:
“Following the filing of an emergency petition on behalf of Marylanders in detention, our state’s highest court has issued an unambiguous order about the urgent threat COVID-19 poses in our prisons and jails and the need to get people out of harm’s way. Yesterday’s order urges administrative judges in every county to work quickly with stakeholders to release those who can safely be released and those at greatest risk, to consider COVID-related factors in decisions to detain people or release them, and further requires that certain hearings be expedited or treated as emergency hearings. In every instance, judges must give real weight to the dangers posed by COVID-19. This is a clear call to action for the trial courts and corrections officials.
“That urgency is all too real for Marylanders in detention and their loved ones. This week, we learned that the first person to die of COVID in a Maryland prison was, predictably, a man in his 60s with medical issues. There is still time to save others. There are men and women in their 60s and 70s and those with underlying medical conditions who can safely be released who have loved ones ready to welcome them home. Every branch of government should be working together to expedite getting them out.”
Learn more about the Petition of Extraordinary Writ re COVID-19.