Local governments are scrambling to deal with the fallout of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Some local governments have taken extreme measures including granting emergency powers to officials.
And the coronavirus has caused a dangerous policy to be enacted in one city.
The United States has over 336,000 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Nearly one-third of cases are in New York State, and more than half that number are in New York City, making the Big Apple the epicenter of the pandemic outbreak.
In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have taken some eye-opening actions to deal with the pandemic.
Mayor de Blasio has announced he’ll be releasing 300 felons from Rikers Island prison. The idea behind the move is to stop the spread of the outbreak in prisons. However, city district attorneys are – rightfully – concerned about the release of criminals.
Prosecutors recently penned a letter to Mayor de Blasio outlining their concerns.
Part of the letter said:
“[W]hen we learned last week that [NYC DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann] was about to use her authority to order an across-the-board release of hundreds of inmates serving city sentences, we were assured that the release would not include those serving time for domestic violence or sex offenses, given the risks to victims. Unfortunately, we later learned that such individuals were indeed included in the ranks of those to be released.”
Putting domestic abusers and sex offenders out on the street could put law-abiding citizens in jeopardy.
The prosecutor letter continued:
“[T]he seemingly haphazard process by which at-risk inmates are identified, and the reports that those released may include violent offenders, are creating a public perception that our city’s jails may be incapable of providing sufficient health care for the remaining population of inmates.”
Not only does the move put people at risk, it also suggests the prisons can’t effectively handle the outbreak.
This policy is the latest instance of local governments enacting head-scratching measures.
Many other cities have already announced releasing inmates and not responding to calls of lower-level property crime and similar misdemeanors.
Simultaneously, they’ve also announced that they might arrest people who do not abide by quarantine like one man who was recently detained for paddle boarding by himself.
Some jurisdictions have even granted themselves the power to confiscate guns if need be.
Local governments need to come up with coherent measures that keep citizens safe without trampling all over their rights.
This latest move by de Blasio isn’t accomplishing that. He’s been particularly bad on issues of law and order and has lost the respect of many of the city’s prosecutors and police officers.
Recently, de Blasio had to reverse course on a bail reform policy that he admitted led to a spike in crime.
Now is not the time to be putting violent offenders back on the street.
That’s one of the reasons why gun sales have skyrocketed across the country – and particularly in blue states.