Horowitz: The latest leftist response to coronavirus? Open up the jails

· March 17, 2020  
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Keys in empty prison cell
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You might want to stay locked in your home for the foreseeable future, but not necessarily because of health concerns.

It seems that the Left’s answer to every public policy crisis is more welfare spending and more immigration. We certainly see that in the coronavirus response. Now leftists are adding a third leg to the stool: jailbreak.

In their determination never to let a crisis go to waste in order to enact long-standing policy wishes, politicians and judges are considering releasing prisoners from prison. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, has already released hundreds of prisoners. “You gotta remember, the goal of this is to protect the community and the safety of the inmates. If someone’s a serious violent person, well, we’re using our discretion to make sure the community’s safe also,” said Cuyahoga County Administrative Judge Brendan Sheehan.

Bill Ward, Minnesota’s top public defender, sent out an email on Friday urging his staff to advocate release on behalf of their clients on grounds that coronavirus will be spread more rapidly through incarceration.

Activists are calling for this in New York, Chicago, and many other places. The ACLU has already filed a lawsuit to mimic this policy on the federal level, demanding that ICE release illegal aliens they believe are at risk to contract the virus. Never mind that if the ACLU were really concerned about the spread of the virus, it would support policies to expedite the removal of illegal immigrants so that they don’t remain in ICE custody and are returned to their home countries.

The concern of coronavirus spreading in jail more than in the general public is absurd. If anything, this is the most protected population, because each individual is under control of the government and anyone sick has already been quarantined and screened, which is why there is no record of an inmate epidemic during previous viral outbreaks in recent years. What some in government essentially want to do to the rest of us has already happened with prisoners. They are locked up and nobody is allowed to visit. This national clamor for jailbreak is nothing but push to enact one of the Left’s top-priority policies and use a health crisis to do so, the same way Democrats are using the virus to push their policies of expanded food stamps and Medicaid.

Now more than ever, with businesses closing up and people off the streets, there is a danger of criminals ravaging the streets and stealing goods. Of course, advocates are couching their idea in terms of “low level, nonviolent offenders,” but we all know what that means according to their dictionary. While economic activity will shut down, criminals will ramp up their activities. As we all know, they don’t exactly abide by ordinances and guidelines.

This idea is gaining steam, and it will make every American city like New York, which experienced a 22.5% increase in major crime in February following the enactment of a new law abolishing bail for those who were supposed to be “low-level” criminals.

You have to give the Left credit for its indefatigable approach to public policy. Leftists have an inexorable quest for numerous policy changes, and they are fully prepared to use a crisis to promote each one. Yet Republicans aren’t even pushing policy changes on borders, travel, and visas, which speak directly to the source of this outbreak.

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.