Conditional release would mitigate virus spread in prisons | Opinion
Now more than ever Conditional Medical Release is good for public health and safety, taxpayers and inmates. COVID-19 has spread to county jails, state and federal prisons, and other detention facilities. Media reports indicate humanitarian, compassionate, elderly, and/or medical releases have been approved, under various emergency declarations and guidelines, by various government entities.
2020欧洲杯正规平台To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Florida should utilize its existing conditional medical release law to release certain non-violent, elderly, seriously ill, and increasingly vulnerable inmates who pose no public safety threat. The Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Commission on Offender Review have the statutory authority and inherent discretion to effectuate such releases.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Florida law 947.149 allows the FCOR to release a state inmate who is permanently incapacitated or terminally ill. A permanently incapacitated inmate is an inmate who has a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness, which to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, renders the inmate permanently and irreversibly physically incapacitated to the extent that the inmate does not constitute a danger to herself or himself or others.
A terminally ill inmate is an inmate who has a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness, which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, renders the inmate terminally ill to the extent that there can be no recovery and death is imminent, so that the inmate does not constitute a danger to herself or himself or others.
With 93,000 inmates at 57 major state prisons, there are close to 24,000 inmates over the age of 50. There are thousands of older inmates with chronic illnesses or severe age-related medical conditions who also pose the lowest security risk. Because of their advanced age, the cost of providing medical care to this group is very expensive compared to the general inmate population.
Hundreds of prisoners of all ages die annually of natural causes from diseases of the digestive system, including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and diabetes, pneumonia, respiratory arrest, multi-system organ failure, kidney disease and infections. While other inmates die from cancer, heart failure, HIV and leukemia and other serious diseases. The potential spread of COVID-19 in Florida’s 144 correctional facilities only increases for these vulnerable inmates, who if infected would expose other inmates, correctional officers, medical staff, vendors and their families.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Since 1996, there have been 346 inmates approved for conditional medical release. The FDOC doctors and medical staff have the power to diagnose the inmate and determine that an inmate is qualified for a conditional medical release. FDOC then makes an agency referral to the FCOR, which has the sole discretion to approve or deny any release. The FDOC’s referral must include a clinical report with the complete medical information justifying a release, and a verifiable release plan describing the medical care and attention needed.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Families of state inmates should contact the prison classification officer and medical director at each facility to get and provide the most updated health information. Families, prison reform advocates and community faith leaders should encourage the FDOC and the FCOR to increase medical releases. Valuable information is available on the FCOR’s website: www.fcor.state.fl.us
Reggie Garcia is an author and AV-Preeminent-rated Florida lawyer. He assists state inmates on clemency, parole, medical release and corrections matters. His book is called How To Leave Prison Early. For more information visit www.floridaclemencylawyer.com.
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