By Madison Pauly on February 5, 2021


A new poll indicates widespread public support for releasing some prisoners early to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has rapidly spread through prisons and jails, killing incarcerated people at twice the rate of people outside.

The poll, conducted by Data For Progress, a progressive think tank, and The Appeal, a policy research outlet, and published today, was based on an online survey of more than 1,110 likely voters. Most said they supported releasing elderly people, people charged with low-level offenses or with less than six months remaining on their sentences, and people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of complications from COVID. Nearly two-thirds of respondents, including more than half of Republicans, believe the police should be booking fewer people into jails.

The results line up with those of similar polls from last spring that found widespread support for early releases as a way of controlling the spread of the coronavirus and limiting its impact on people in federal and state custody.


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