by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2020
Amid concerns of coronavirus outbreaks in prisons, inmates are being released in unprecedented numbers nationwide.
Among the hundreds of inmates ordered freed by the state supreme court in Massachusetts are Glenn Christie, a 54-year-old convicted child rapist, and 29-year-old Matthew Parris, who is accused of raping two teenage girls this year.
“As of April 26, Massachusetts officials have released 824 inmates from state prisons since April 3. This means that the state is releasing about 36 inmates every day with no end in sight, all in an effort to empty jails to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Breitbart News reported.
In 2018, Christie was convicted of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy.
Parris was arrested less than two months ago and charged with raping and sexually assaulting two teenage girls.
Related: California releases ‘high risk’ sex offenders over coronavirus fears, May 1, 2020
According to the charges, Parris had been working as a teaching assistant at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School when he contacted a 15-year-old student through Instagram. The two met at a local cemetery, according to police, and Parris allegedly attempted to kiss her and touch her breast. The victim said Parris gave her a bag with a sex toy in it before she fled.
More than a week later, police said Parris threatened and forced the girl to perform oral sex on him in the middle of a school day inside a closet.
A second victim told police that Parris had similarly contacted her through Instagram. When the two met in person, police said Parris forced the girl to perform oral sex on him and threatened the victim’s family. A day later, police said Parris forced the girl to get undressed in his car before driving to a location where he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Parris had already pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated statutory rape, rape of a child with force, and kidnapping of a child.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said that violent offenders should not be released from prison regardless of the health risks posed by staying incarcerated.
“People who have been locked up for violent offenses and carrying a firearm should not be released on personals, and I could care less if they get sick in jail or not,” Gross said. “They are a danger to the community, and they’re sending the wrong mentality.”
In Florida, an inmate who was released because of coronavirus concerns is now back in prison and facing murder charges, police said.
Joseph Edward Williams, 26, was first arrested on March 13 for allegedly possessing heroin, a third-degree felony, and drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor, Hillsborough County police said. He was released on March 19 before his trial and after an order instructed Hillsborough County to release nonviolent, low-level offenders to avoid a coronavirus outbreak in the detention centers.
Williams was arrested again for allegedly taking part in a March 20 homicide in Tampa and now faces a second-degree murder charge, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. Williams is now back in custody with no bond.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Williams “took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes” and called on the state attorney to prosecute him “to the fullest extent of the law.”
In California, a man released from jail over coronavirus concerns allegedly committed a carjacking — 40 minutes after being released.
Rocky Lee Music, 32, was arrested for committing a carjacking after he was released from Santa Rita jail in California on April 19. Music had first been arrested hours earlier for car theft, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reported. He was released from jail on zero bail.
Owen Aguilar, 27, was charged with setting nine fires less than a week after his release from the Fresno County Jail.
Aguilar had been facing a charge of felony animal cruelty when he was released from jail on April 10, the Fresno County district attorney’s office said.
Music and Aguilar were released under an April 13 emergency order by the state Judicial Council which cut bail to zero for those charged with low-level offenses. The order aimed to combat the potential spread of the coronavirus within packed lockups, the Judicial Council said.
The judicial order is expected to continue for 90 days after Gov. Gavin Newsom his statewide stay-at-home order.
Also in April, a man charged with a series of school burglaries in Fremont was released without bail, then rearrested and accused of another spate of crimes in Santa Clara County that included stealing 23 cars from a San Jose car rental agency with the help of three other people, police said.
In New York City, at least 50 inmates who were released under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s order have re-offended and landed back in jail. Some of those have already being readmitted into society again over coronavirus concerns.
“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done,” de Blasio told reporters, according to the New York Post.
Responding to the story on Twitter, conservative political analyst Ben Shapiro wrote: “De Blasio being surprised that criminals commit crimes is just pure 100% uncut De Blasio.”
The Washington Free Beacon’s Brent Scher added: “It’s almost like we had them in prison for a reason!”
The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents over 50,000 active duty and retired police officers, also joined the chorus of those slamming the mayor.
“Unconscionable? What did you think would happen @NYCMayor? Didn’t your office review and sign off on the release of hundreds of these inmates?”