'Do something now': Inmate's wife calls for release of non-violent offenders amid COVID-19 pandemic
But she says prisoners are unable to self-isolate and have limited access to hygiene and sanitary products, so sending those who are not a risk to public safety may be the best thing during a pande…
The 38-year-old woman from Vaughan, Ont., is one of many worrying about the health and safety of their incarcerated loved ones, whose living arrangements make them particularly vulnerable to the novel coronavirus that has so far infected thousands of people and killed dozens across the country.
“Sometimes I find myself having to hold back my tears,” Infusino-Tomei says. “My anxiety is through the roof, and so is my husband’s, because he is away from us.”She says she hasn’t been able to get support in caring for their 19-month-old because her parents are older and in poor health.
Her husband, Adrian Tomei, is serving a three-year sentence at Beaver Creek Institution north of Toronto, after he pleaded guilty last year to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.Infusino-Tomei says people like her 33-year-old husband — who have no other criminal history, were convicted of a non-violent crime and have a safe place to stay — should be released from prison, where she fears COVID-19 would spread uncontrollably.
“There is no excuse for making bad decisions,” she says. “He is paying his dues. He plead guilty from the onset and he was a man from the beginning by standing up and facing the music.”My argument is that the pandemic is a public health risk for prisoners and the risk of getting the virus is a hardship that was not previously foreseen
But she says prisoners are unable to self-isolate and have limited access to hygiene and sanitary products, so sending those who are not a risk to public safety may be the best thing during a pandemic.“We know mass quarantines don’t work because of those people left on cruise ships for weeks at a time,” Infusino-Tomei says. “If something like that happens in prison, it’s going to be far more dangerous, far more catastrophic on a far larger scale.”
She says her husband has applied for parole by exception and is working with a lawyer in Kingtson, Ont.Fergus J. (Chip) O’Connor, Tomei’s parole lawyer, cites a section of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that allows early release for an offender for whom continued confinement would constitute an excessive hardship.
“My argument is that the pandemic is a public health risk for prisoners and the risk of getting the virus is a hardship that was not previously foreseen,” O’Connor says.He says he has suggested to the commissioner of corrections and the Parole Board of Canada that efforts should be made to release non-violent prisoners soon, as the pandemic is expected to peak in Canada in the coming weeks.
He, as well as other legal advocates in Canada, are also calling for the government to recognize parole officers as essential workers, since they play a key role in getting applications processed.“I’m not asking that they let everybody out of jail,” O’Connor says.
If we want to get out of this with the fewest deaths ... the only way to do that is to give these inmates an opportunity to isolate “But if they would just take that step, and if they had the political will to do so, then we could reduce the prison population significantly, put people in their homes and it would … flatten the curve.”
He notes he has many clients who are older or have compromised immune systems that would cause major complications if they were to get the novel coronavirus.In a statement, the Correctional Service of Canada says measures such as a contingency planning for food, supplies and necessary medical equipment has been adopted.
“CSC has taken full inventory of existing personal protective equipment supplies and has worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada to purchase additional supplies as necessary,” it says.“We have also distributed additional soap, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to staff and inmates and we are educating staff and inmates on the prevention and spread of illness, including the importance of good hygiene practices.”
The CSC, as well as the office of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, says there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the federal system.But, the province of Ontario confirmed Thursday that an inmate and corrections officer at the South Toronto Detention Centre tested positive. Saskatchewan announced Friday that two workers at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre also contracted the virus.
It’s something that worries Infusino-Tomei, who says it’s just a matter of time before COVID-19 enters the federal system.“If we want to get out of this with the fewest deaths … the only way to do that is to give these inmates an opportunity to isolate,” she says.
Should be safest place to be because everything can be controlled. Of course a judge could say; too much punishment!!? Sorry. Stay there and isolate them best you can Should never happen. They went to jail for a reason. No do the crime pay the time Irony is when the ‘good guys’ are locked in their homes and the ‘bad guys’ are set free. Nope. They can practice proper protocols in their institutions, much as hospitals and nursing homes are doing.
Absolutely not! Easier to isolate in prison! Of course she did. Bah, it's going to be over in a couple weeks. Chill out. Trafficking drugs. Nope. Stay in jail. We have Seniors livin homes with similar conditions and more of them have become sick and died but the media and bleeding hearts want to talk about this? Give me a brake.
OMG, a convict’s wife is demanding us to release her douchebag criminal hubbie! WE. MUST. ACT. NOW. Don’t be a criminal lol Nope not they don’t deserve to be let out. They can isolate in jail. Nope. No isolate them in there. We don't need it spreading anymore than it is. A lot of these people, arrested for non-violent crimes, are dangerous. By the time these criminals actually get to prison, they have committed many crimes and often away with them.
Oh no she’s a single mom now. So is every single other parents who copulated with a convict. You will find no pity from drug widows, divorcés, any law abiding citizen. Don’t feel bad for any drug dealers. Media should put an go fund me page for her & stop posting garbage. No. I'm a lot more concerned about the lives and safety of law abiding Canadians than the small risk inmates may face if they social distance by staying in their cells
Newly released inmates are sure to take their new freedom seriously and isolate themselves. What would the harm be? no Absolutely not! Nope,..did the crime suffer the time...Jail time is only small relief for victims and what they’ve suffered! Why would we expect lawbreakers to abide by the more stringent social distancing laws in place right now? Leave them in prison where they belong.
Nope We have enough drug dealers and gangs on the street thanks! There are many single mothers and their child dealing with the coronovirus Crime doesnt pay. He put himself there. People in nursing homes, now theres where I give a sht Not a chance! Right where they belong. Yeah the cocaine trade is non-violent. Lol can you please get serious!
Nope Can they not isolate in cells? No free pass for criminals because of COVID. That is the last thing we should be considering. Nope News flash - people are getting sick out here too. Maybe in the future if you don’t want to be stuck in jail during a pandemic, don’t break the law in the first place....
24 Sussex Drive Maybe your husband should prioritize and choose you, your daughter, and an honest living over dealing cocaine? Posting this every 2 hrs isn’t going to make more people agree with setting drug dealers and other criminals free. 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔HELL NO NO Nope. Did the crime do the time. No Thousands of years Kurds are being in Quarantine in their Home Kudistan ! Every thing is forbidden for them, language, identity even their existence as a separated_nation because of the Arabic ,Turkish and Persian regimes and they still !
'Do something now:' Inmate's wife calls for release of non-violent offendersThe wife of a convicted drug trafficker says the federal government should release non-violent offenders from prison to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19. Just me that thinks it’s impractical to release people who are potentially carrying the virus? 🤷🏻♀️ Ya, ok 🙄 So that means Trudeau would be able to leave his house?
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