Berkshire DA’s Office Statement On SJC Motion
The Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts filed a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Judicial Court's Apr. 3, 2020 order.
The order guided criminal justice agencies making determinations regarding incarceration in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is a statement from District Attorney Andrea Harrington:
“I am reviewing the motion and look forward to another round of litigation. Public and victim safety remains my top priority. I was able to secure vital protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse and ensured that dangerous individuals continue to be held during the last negotiation with the Special Master. My office seeks to ensure that the effort to lower the incarcerated population does not endanger the public while also recognizing that an outbreak of COVID-19 in jails or prisons would put significant strain on our medical providers and puts correctional officers and inmates at heightened risk. The number of COVID-19 positive inmates and correctional staff has been growing exponentially and that poses a significant public health threat. We have been proactive in addressing these concerns and we already have the third-lowest pre-trial incarceration population in the state because of policies my office enacted. I thank the SJC for showing leadership in a time of crisis and providing statewide guidance. The pandemic is showing that public health and safety are truly intertwined.
(press release sent to us from the Berkshire County DA's Office for online and on air use)