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Indiana government leaders urge release of some inmates due to COVID-19 spread

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Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 16:02:54-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana government leaders from all three branches of government are encouraging local governments to look into releasing some inmates due to the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter released Friday, the leaders are asking for communities to review the current population of detention facilities and identify low-risk, non-violent juveniles and inmates.

The letter was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb, Chief Justice of Indiana Judge Loretta Rush, Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), and Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Todd Huston (R-Fishers).

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"This is not a question of being soft on crime or criminals, but rather it's a matter of need in a time of a widespread public health emergency affecting our entire State, at the local level," they wrote in the letter.

The leaders say determining who to release should be done based on local resources, support, and health conditions.

"No Indiana-size solution would fit all," the letter read. "But, for the sake of those low-risk, non-violent juveniles and inmates who could be released safely, the staff and law enforcement officers who enter our jails and juvenile detention facilities daily, and our healthcare workers battling COVID-19 everywhere they encounter it, we encourage the local judges, sheriffs and county leaders to work collaboratively when making these important decisions and we applaud their responsible efforts in this regard."

You can read the full letter here.