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Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio said on Monday that “it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done.” This was in response to the unsurprising news that dozens of criminals released by city jails have been arrested after committing new crimes upon their coronavirus-related releases earlier this month.
The reoffending inmates include “a Rikers Island inmate initially jailed for allegedly setting his girlfriend’s door on fire and choking her mother, who was released early only to return to the Bronx apartment and allegedly threaten to kill the whole family” as well as many other violent criminals. In total, “at least 50” of the inmates released by the city have reoffended.
De Blasio is apparently surprised that criminals who were released from prison so they would be in less danger of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus have gone on to commit crimes. His feeling is that these individuals were “shown mercy” and should know better than to reoffend. Of course, if they knew that, they wouldn’t have been in these circumstances in the first place, as many of those who were released were repeat offenders who were held on suspicion of additional crimes.
The concerns that criminals were going to put the public at risk were front and center in the debate as to whether or not to release these offenders. However, 1,400 inmates were released. De Blasio promised that the NYPD has been keeping track of these early parolees and will continue to do so.
Two inmates have died of the coronavirus, while 300 inmates have tested positive for the illness. The population of the Rikers Island facility, which is often a sore spot for New York prison reformers, is down below 4,000 for the first time since World War II.
As de Blasio expressed his shock that violent criminals would commit violent crimes upon being set free, many Americans have been subject to fines and arrests for jogging, playing basketball, exercising and even worshipping as communities crack down on those violating social distancing rules.
So to recap, threatening to kill your family gets you released, worshipping with your family gets you fined. Got it.