The attempted release of 21 prisoners from Rikers Island in New York City was rejected by a state judge on Wednesday, as reported by ABC News.
The judge, Justice Kenneth Holder of the Queens Supreme Court, ultimately determined that their ongoing detainments were not unconstitutional, and thus did not need to be commuted due to fears of the inmates catching the coronavirus. Holder declared that “under these circumstances, petitioners have not shown deliberate indifference to their safety and medical needs…and the petition is dismissed.”
Two of the prisoners who applied for early release, Jagger Freeman and Christopher Ransom, received extreme scrutiny due to their involvement in the death of an NYPD detective. Freeman’s release was also blocked by another justice of the Queens Supreme Court, Marcia Hirsch, on Tuesday.
Over 330 inmates throughout the state of New York have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Over 1,000 prisoners have been released already, with some already going back to committing more crimes, which has resulted in widespread criticism of the move by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.).