Plain Talk: Should We Be Letting Prisoners Out of Jail During the Coronavirus Crisis?


Prison cells inside the walls of the Minnesota Correctional Facility Stillwater are nearly identical to one another. Behind the bars, cells include a sink, toilet, mirror, bed, bureau, desk, shelf and a plastic chair. Ann Arbor Miller/The Forum

The coronavirus crisis has prompted policy makers in North Dakota, and across the nation, to look at reducing jail and prison populations by letting some low-risk offenders, and some folks in jail pre-trial because they can’t make bond, out into the general population.

Is that the right move?

On this episode of Plain Talk Dane DeKrey from the North Dakota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Adam Martin from the F5 Project, discuss the issue.

We also discussed what letting prisoners out might mean for policy initiatives like bail reform. If it’s ok to let these people out of jail during the coronavirus situation, should they have been in prison in the first place? Or could they be held accountable for their actions without incarceration?

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