PDAA Issues Statement On ACLU King’s Bench Petition

March 30, 2020

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) today issued the following statement in response to the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s King’s Bench petition related to county jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“We appreciate the unique situation correctional facilities are in as a result of COVID-19.  By no means is this an ideal situation. Any strategy to decrease population in a particular facility should reflect collaborative efforts and be viewed as a temporary solution and a necessary response to COVID-19’s immediate and dangerous public health emergency.  Those collaborative efforts must be thoughtful, individualized and focused on non-violent offenders to ultimately serve what is in the best interest of public health and public safety. There must also be a way to provide supervision and be considerate of victims of crime.

In contrast to seeking extraordinary relief through a statewide court petition, we are aware of many instances of district attorneys taking measured, individualized approaches to COVID-19 as it relates to jail populations and other local law enforcement responses. There are many instances where county prisons, in conjunction with local district attorneys have worked with local defense attorneys, the courts and county probation to identify appropriate non-violent offenders to move out of county prisons in an effort mitigate any potential spread of the virus.”

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