Norton Thanks Parole Commission for Reducing Inmate Population, Says More Needs to be Done
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) noted today that the United States Parole Commission (USPC) has reduced the danger to inmates and staff by releasing people under its jurisdiction in custody, including releasing half of its inmates at the District of Columbia’s Central Detention Facility and Correctional Treatment Facility since March 19, 2020. However, Norton continues to request that USPC release those appropriate for release under its jurisdiction to reduce inevitable exposure to COVID-19 in tight, crowded spaces. Norton has pressed for the release of D.C. residents incarcerated under federal jurisdiction during the coronavirus, consistent with public safety, because the risk of transmission is much higher in jails and prisons. Most of USPC’s population consists of D.C. Code felons.
In two letters to USPC during the coronavirus, Norton urged USPC to reduce arrests, release individuals awaiting hearings and release vulnerable individuals serving sentences, all consistent with public safety. In a letter to Norton, USPC indicated that it has limited the number of arrests and has released individuals awaiting hearings. USPC said it is now reviewing the cases of those serving sentences.
“I appreciate USPC’s efforts to reduce the number of individuals in custody during this public health crisis, and I thank Acting Chair Patricia Cushwa for her responsiveness to my concerns,” Norton said. “The population I have asked the Commission to focus on releasing poses a very low public safety risk to the community, and reducing the number of people in custody helps protect both the inmates and the staff at correctional facilities. I reiterate my request for USPC to review expeditiously the cases of those serving sentences.”
Norton’s March 20, 2020, letter to USPC.
Norton’s April 21, 2020, letter to USPC.