Prison inmates in Illinois may be granted furloughs to minimize the spread of coronavirus in state facilities.
Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order yesterday, that gives the Illinois Department of Corrections permission to allow “medically vulnerable” inmates out of prison for the duration of the Governor’s disaster declaration, and as long as the inmate meet the medical criteria on a case by case basis.
According to the Associated Press, several lawsuits have been filled by representatives of prisoners contending the state has been slow to act in the face of the pandemic.
The lawsuits noted as many as 13,000 prisoners could be eligible for release, including some convicted of nonviolent offenses, who are elderly, and at a higher risk of getting sick or have served most of their sentences.
To date, 62 inmates and 40 Corrections Department staffers have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
According to the Department of Corrections website, no positive cases have been confirmed at the Jacksonville Correctional Center.
Two inmates at Stateville Correctional Center have died of the disease.
According to the AP report, the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago was one of the organizations seeking to get some prison inmates released. Director Alan Mills called Pritzker’s move a positive one that will allow the Corrections Department to transfer thousands of prisoners to places where they can follow the governor’s orders to shelter in place and maintain social distancing.