Citing COVID-19 crisis, N.J. releases hundreds of inmates

Citing COVID-19 crisis, N.J. releases hundreds of inmates

TRENTON, N.J. – In an unprecedented move, N.J. Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed off on a consent order on Monday releasing hundreds of lower-level inmates from New Jersey’s jail facilities. The purported goal is to reduce prison crowding and, in so doing, slow the spread of COVID-19 inside the state’s corrections system.

The order (click here) – co-signed by the state attorney general and office of the public defender – provides for the release of prisoners serving sentences as a condition of probation and prisoners serving sentences for municipal court violations (including fourth degree crimes and disorderly persons offense like simple assault and shoplifting). 

Chief Justice Rabner order further provides that the release of up to 1,000 qualifying inmates needs to occur by Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Corrections officials can object to a specific prisoner’s release; the order also suspends rather than commutes jail sentences, meaning the jail individuals could be re-imprisoned after the state of emergency ends (whenever that happens, and assuming you can find’em).