KEY POINTS

  • Alabama law students are calling for the release of prisoners vulnerable to COVID-19
  • A victim's rights advocate group has voiced opposition to the idea
  • COVID-19 rates in the state continue to skyrocket 

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, correctional institutions all over the country are considering compassionate release of eligible prisoners on grounds that they may be vulnerable to infection. However, Alabama crime victims’ rights advocates are staunchly opposing the release of inmates even through they may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

The opposition comes in response to a recent letter written by a group of concerned law students to Governor Kay Ivey, urging to act immediately to ensure the safety of all inmates as cases in the state continue to rise, day after day.

AL.com reports that the group is specifically asking for the release of all inmates over the age of 60; those with chronic illnesses, complex medical needs, compromised immune systems, and disabilities; and pregnant women. However, a group of victim advocates say their calls ignore the feelings, sensitivities and emotions of victims of violent crimes and their families.

“Unfortunately, this lack of sympathy for victims and their families has become a popular trend in institutions of higher education across the country. It is quite telling that victims and victims’ advocates are rarely invited to speak on campus in addition to the public defenders and felons who are,’’ state director of Victims of Crime and Leniency Janette Grantham said. “This reveals a grievous lack of sympathy for those who have endured mental and physical trauma at the hands of convicted felons.”

Grantham insisted that there are less dangerous ways of halting the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and that to grant release of violent criminals completely diminishes the feelings of victims and their loved ones, while posing an immediate threat to public safety.

She urged the student groups who are clamoring for prisoners’ release to read the stories and court transcripts of the offenders before insisting on their freedom and asked them to consider the plight of someone who runs the risk of once again encountering their assailant on the street.