Cuomo Frees 8 Sex Offenders from New York Jails to Fight Coronavirus
Prisoners, including three convicted for raping children, released from prison
New York's Democrat governor, Andrew Cuomo, has released eight convicted sex offenders from the state's prisons in a bid to fight the coronavirus spread, according to reports.
The convicts, including child rapists, were set free as part of a statewide initiative led by Gov. Cuomo to empty jails over fears inmates will contract the Chinese virus.
The Monroe County, New York, jail freed over fifty inmates from their custody over the weekend.
According to WIVB 4, the move was part of the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Services jailbreak effort amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the fifty inmates released, eight were sex offenders, three of which were convicted for raping children.
The child abusers were released despite New York state courts deeming the sex offenders likely to re-victimize children.
Patrick Phelan, the chief of police in Greece, New York, told WIVB 4 that his office was not notified by state officials of the sex offenders’ release.
The inmates were moved by the state to a local Holiday Inn Express
“We weren’t told by anyone,” Phelan said.
"I think it would be good practice if you’re going to release convicted felons
"Some of them very violent - some of those level 3 sex offenders - you might want to give law enforcement the heads up.”
Cuomo’s Department of Corrections and Community Services defended their decision in a statement to local media, saying:
“This significant action is being taken in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in local jails over the past few days and weeks.”
“Our top priority remains the public health and safety of New Yorkers during this global public health emergency and this measure will further protect a vulnerable population from contracting and transmitting this infectious disease,” a department official said.
The move follows Cuomo's order to release 1,100 inmates who have broken the terms of their parole in fear that the convicts may become infected with COVID-19 in prison.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also vowed to release 375 inmates back into the general public.
At the federal level, 14 Republican and Democrat Senators have urged the Justice Department to free felons who are over the age of 60-years-old.
Those backing the calls include Sens Mike Lee (R-UT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).