Criminal justice group urges clemency for offenders released to home confinement during pandemic

Kevin Ring, president of the advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, urged President Biden on Tuesday to grant clemency to around 4,000 offenders who were released to home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roughly 24,000 inmates have been released to home confinement since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic following the passage of the CARES Act in March, which directed the federal Bureau of Prisons to prioritize home confinement for certain inmates in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In the waning days of the Trump administration the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo that said that under federal law, offenders who were released because of the CARES Act have to report back to prison when the COVID-19 emergency is over, unless they are close to the end of their sentence.

The Biden administration, however, could revoke that policy.

Ring called on Biden to grant clemency to the 4,000 inmates “who don’t need to be back in prison.”

“These 4,000 people who are on home confinement, that Bill Barr cleared to go home, said they were safe enough to be back in their community for the rest of their sentence, and now the Justice Department is trying to bring back to prison,” Ring said during an appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

“And what we fear by President Biden not acting is that you’re gonna see more cases like Gwen’s, where they’re on home confinement with these strict rules and they’re going to run afoul of them at some point and be hauled back to prison, one by one. So we’re urging President Biden to act now, grant clemency to Gwen and 4,000 others who don’t need to be back in prison,” Ring added.

Ring was referring to the case of Gwen Levi, the woman who was sent back to federal prison from home confinement to finish her 24-year sentence after not answering a phone call regarding her whereabouts when she was at a computer class, which she received verbal approval from her case manager to attend.

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