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State Supreme Court Rejects ACLU's Petition To Release Inmates At Risk For COVID-19

Lauren Chapman
IPB News


The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a petition from the ACLU of Indiana to release jail and prison inmates at risk of COVID-19.

The ACLU’s request noted prisons and jails are particularly vulnerable to disease outbreaks. And it urged the state to – at least temporarily – release jail and prison inmates who are in high-risk categories from the virus.

The ACLU’s recommendation suggested that could apply to people awaiting trial who don’t pose a risk to the community and offenders whose sentences could be reduced or suspended.

READ MORE: More People Test Positive For COVID-19 In Indiana Prisons

The Supreme Court, though, said the ACLU is asking it to extend its authority too far. It said the power to revise sentences and make release determinations rests at the trial court and county level. And the Court’s unanimous denial points out it has already taken steps to empower local officials – judges, sheriffs and others – to release inmates when appropriate and necessary.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.