JEFFERSON CITY — Governor Mike Parson said he is not planning to release any prisoners early, in a press conference Tuesday.
"People are incarcerated for a reason," Gov. Parson said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is calling for Gov. Parson to release non-violent, vulnerable inmates who are serving state prison sentences.
In a letter ACLU Executive Director Luz Henrique said, "Governors should grant immediate commutations to anyone whose sentence would end in the next year, to anyone currently being held on a technical supervision violation, and to anyone identified by the CDC as particularly vulnerable whose sentence would end in the next two years. In Missouri 32,461, individuals are incarcerated. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure their care."
One Missouri inmate has tested positive for COVID-19.
Gov. Parson said, "Probably in our prison system, right now is where they [inmates] should be. We're prepared for that, if the Coronavirus goes in there. We know, we had an active case of that. And we're prepared for that. So no, we're not planning on releasing anyone early at this time."
The ACLU wants the criminal justice and legal system to create policies that align with health experts' recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Henriquez also urged parole officers, sheriffs, judges, prosecutors and police to help in preventing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the criminal justice system. The ACLU said the longer jurisdictions wait to act, the worse this will be.
Gov Parson said, there is a lot that goes into releasing an inmate.