A group of Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday urged Gov. Charlie Baker to speed up efforts to reduce the population in the state’s prisons and jails amidst a growing outbreak of COVID-19.
The lawmakers, including 15 senators and 23 representatives, sent a letter to Baker asking him to push the state Parole Board to expedite hearings and reduce processing time to release prisoners.
They also asked the governor to use his authority to shorten sentences for prisoners who are sick, and those over 60, who are not considered dangerous, as well as people returned back in prison after violating parole or probation for non-criminal offenses.
“Whatever their original offenses, and whatever their original sentences, inmates throughout the Commonwealth are now in danger of suffering the ultimate penalty,’’ the lawmakers said in a letter. “The correctional officers with whom they come into contact run the same dramatic risk.”