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.
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.
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.