As the United States continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus, local state officials are looking toward its criminal justice system to curb the illness’ longevity. According to Patch, Philadelphia’s police force plans to halt the arrests of those who commit non-violent crimes as a means of slowing down exposure to the virus.
Non-violent crimes that are listed include burglary, car theft, robbery, narcotics, prostitution, and fraud. If an officer apprehends someone engaged in these instances, they’ll “temporarily detain the offender for the length of time required to confirm identity” like taking fingerprints, then “release the offender.” An arrest warrant will be served at a later time as the District Attorney’s Charging Unit (DACU) approves the charges, according to the document’s outline. However, if an officer is sure an individual poses a threat to society, a supervisor will be notified and take the necessary steps to run the course of action.
“Our mission is to protect and promote the health and safety of our officers and the community we serve to the best of our ability, while continuing to discharge every aspect of our core duties,” Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. According to Billy Penn, bench warrants for certain individuals who fail to appear in court will also be placed on hold. These mandates went into effect on Tuesday (March 17).
Given the rapid spread of the coronavirus, attention has been turned toward the country’s jail and prison complexes. Recently, Yo Gotti and Team Roc called on Mississippi’s criminal justice system to fix its attention on inmates who might be at risk of contagion inside Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman.
“Those inmates have been subjected to inhumane health and safety risks, and now have to deal with the uncertainty and potential devastation of the coronavirus too,” Yo Gotti said. “It is imperative that the Mississippi Department of Corrections implement a plan within Parchman to provide medical resources necessary to protect inmates that might be exposed.”