Because of the harsh conditions in NYC prisons, federal judges handed down lighter sentences: analysis
An investigation finds that during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, federal judges in New York City issued scores of lighter prison sentences, citing horrific conditions in Manhattan and Brooklyn jails as a cause.
Several federal judges in the Southern District of New York, according to an examination of 43 cases by the New York Daily News, handed down sentences that were on average 58 percent lower than what government standards recommended. Each case included people who were detained pending trial and couldn’t afford their own lawyers.
Judges in nearly all of those cases mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic as a cause of severe and traumatic jail circumstances, according to the research.
After an illegal immigrant was caught re-entering the United States from Mexico and caught COVID-19 after deportation, a court reduced a suggested jail sentence of 30-37 months to to six months.
During his sentencing, Judge Paul Engelmayer stated that while prison is supposed to be a punishment, it should not include the amount of illness and fear connected with the pandemic.
According to the Daily News, Engelmayer added, “I am cognizant… that you have served the most of your sentence in prison so far during the worst pandemic in this country in the past 100 years.” “I’m aware that your time in prison was harrowing as a result of the pandemic, the prior lockdown, the subsequent lockdown, and your personal illness. Prison is supposed to be a punishment, not a source of trauma of that magnitude or proximity.”
Judge Paul Oetken, for example, lowered prison sentences because he believed that being incarcerated during the pandemic’s peak was a “harsher than ordinary period.”
According to the site, Oetken remarked on April 2 while sentencing a low-level crack dealer, “I do believe that because it’s been tougher than a regular term that it’s more punitive, that it’s practically the equal of either time and a half or two times what would ordinarily be served.”
When deciding on punishments, federal judges took into account an inmate’s health as well as the substance of the offence.
Because the judge said, one diabetic inmate received an 18-month sentence although prosecutors had requested up to four years. This is a condensed version of the information.