Positive COVID-19 Case at Metropolitan Remand Centre Highlights Need To Release Low-Risk Prisoners
The Victorian Greens have called on the Andrews Government to immediately release low-risk prisoners following news of a positive COVID-19 case at the Metropolitan Remand Centre.
First case of COVID in Victorian prisons has been confirmed. New prisoner at MRC returned a positive test this morning. He hasn’t been in the wider prison, Corrections said, and has been in protective quarantine since he came inside. pic.twitter.com/wd3vDi0h4n— Tammy Mills (@TammyMills1) July 17, 2020
Prisoners due to be released in the next few weeks, prisoners on remand for minor offences, and prisoners who are at greater risk of hospitalisation if infected should now be made eligible for early release.
Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read, said that the government could easily reduce our prison population now by releasing low-risk prisoners.
He added that a COVID-19 outbreak in a large, crowded prison would be very difficult to control among inmates and staff and that reducing numbers would mitigate that risk.
MEDIA RELEASE - Confirmed COVID-19 case in Melbourne Prison— VALS (@thevalsmob) July 17, 2020
Black Lives Matter is not a slogan. It is a movement which calls on everyone to value and protect the lives of Black people, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. pic.twitter.com/fKFe7RoOvT
Victoria’s prison population has doubled over the past decade and now exceeds 7,151 people, with seven of the state’s prisons holding more than 500 people.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Tim Read MP:
"Our prisoners are sitting ducks right now.
"It would take very little effort on the state government’s part to make low-risk prisoners eligible for early release to help reduce our prison numbers substantially and protect inmates and staff alike from a potential outbreak.
"Every person taken out of our prisons right now is one less person to worry about in the event of an institutional outbreak."
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