Letter from the Bar Association of San Francisco About the Release of California Inmates due to COVID-19
April 6, 2020, San Francisco—The Bar Association of San Francisco sent a letter to Governor Newsom today, urging him to consider the recommendations of health experts to release elderly and medically vulnerable people from prisons.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear Governor Newsom,
The Bar Association of San Francisco applauds your efforts thus far to limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout California. To that end, we urge you to strongly consider the vital recommendations made to you by medical health experts throughout the State in the enclosed letter to protect the lives of the people impacted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), including people in custody, staff at CDCR, the surrounding communities and the family members and communities of staff and those who are incarcerated in county jails.
We recognize the need to ensure public safety remains paramount – perhaps even more so during an emergency. To that end, we urge close evaluation to ensure as best as possible that those who present genuine security concerns be detained or remain incarcerated even while prison populations are otherwise drastically reduced and that investments be made to increase resources for discharge planning and re-entry transitions to facilitate prison release of people under any revised policies. Additional work is also needed to ensure supports in the community exist for those released. However, we believe the temporary, but immediate measures recommended by the medical health experts in the enclosed letter will best allow our entire community to remain safe during this emergency.
President, Bar Association of San Francisco
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, and its volunteer legal services programs and other community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote and achieve equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.