The potential for a COVID-19 outbreak within the close confines of a Delaware prison is significant and dangerous. Normally, people incarcerated in a Delaware correctional facility would be given opportunities to earn credit to reduce time from their sentence. However, the pandemic has significantly curtailed these opportunities, and meanwhile public health experts are recommending early release as a critical tactic to contain COVID-19 inside prison walls.
This bill seeks to reduce the prison population in an orderly and fair manner, by creating “public health emergency credits” that would automatically be awarded when a public health emergency is declared. Credits would be awarded at the rate of 6 months for every month served during the public health emergency up to a maximum reduction in sentence of 1 year. This bill would give an early release to those who would have been released one year from now on good behavior, thereby protecting the other incarcerated people, the prison staff, and the public generally.