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Ocean County Legislators: Letting Out 800 Prisoners Amid Outbreak Has ‘Too Many Unknowns’

Jail Cell (Credit: Jobs For Felons Hub/ Flickr)

Jail Cell (Credit: Jobs For Felons Hub/ Flickr)

A plan by state officials that could allow as many as 800 prisoners – at least 300 of which would be over the objection of prosecutors – is a bad idea, Ocean County legislators said Friday.

“Some of the individuals have been incarcerated for resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, child endangerment and domestic violence,” said Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin (R-Ocean). “This has led to our county prosecutors protesting a number of the releases to ensure these criminals stay in jail. It’s hard to imagine the battered spouse, child victims and police officers who have already been assaulted by these convicted criminals will feel any safer tonight but I guess the concerns of these victims are not as important.”

More than 800 prisoners were flagged for possible release after state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed an order late Sunday, but county prosecutors objected to more than 300. Those individual cases must now be heard by a judge.

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“Releasing these inmates under the current situation to protect their health today raises concerns about whether or not they would harm themselves or others once they are freed,” said Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Ocean). “In addition, when this public health crisis is over, how do we know if these individuals will comply with the directive and return to finish out their sentence? There are just too many unknowns in this situation and the health of our law-abiding residents is our main concern.”

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