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Criminal justice is a complex issue, and it is no secret that innocent people are convicted every day while guilty ones go free. Furthermore, the role that prisons and prisoner health plays in the process of criminal justice is a controversial one. 

Every prison has a duty to the inmates to ensure that their basic needs are met. This means that they remain healthy, fed, and in a sanitary environment. When prisons cannot do this, they are liable to the families if prisoners die under their watch. Families file wrongful death lawsuits against prisons all the time. While prisoners do not make ideal plaintiffs, the government is not an ideal defendant, either. 

So what happens now that you have a pandemic going on? Well, some of those awaiting trial have already been released to their families (depending on the charges) while others, who are considered low-risk, are also being released.

Those who are in prison awaiting trial for crimes for which they have been accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet the law has a vested interest in holding some detainees until trial—especially if they are considered either flight risks or a danger to the community. 

Despite that, one Chicago criminal defense attorney was able to get over a dozen Chicago inmates released amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Prisons and Jails are Responsible for Inmate Safety

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300Both Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly have filed motions with the court for temporary release during the coronavirus outbreak citing health hazards. Weinstein and Kelly are both older with Weinstein being the more vulnerable of the two due to a recent surgery and more advanced age. Both were denied bail by the courts. 

But can others be expected to get their bail denied during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

The Virus is a Problem for Prisons

mark-condy-ju2i2Ajqq_8-unsplash-copy-300x225Each state has its own laws when dealing with quarantine orders. There are also federal laws that lay out penalties for violating a quarantine order. These laws vary widely from one state to another. In some places, like Florida, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face six months in county jail. 

The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have their own measures in place for meting out punishment for those who violate a quarantine order. In this article, we will take a look at what the law says about staying indoors during this difficult period.

All Sick People: Shelter in Place

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225In the age of the coronavirus, crime still exists even as the courts are mostly shut down across the United States and especially here in Illinois. In fact, throughout much of the U.S., the criminal justice system is on pause. However, in Missouri, one man has been charged with making terrorist threats after he videoed himself licking deodorant in a Missouri Walmart. 

Cody Lee Pfister was arrested by the Warrenton police department after posting the video to social media on March 11. The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office has charged him with making terrorist threats in the second degree. The allegations read something like: Pfister knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition or danger was present that involved a danger to life. He did this with reckless disregard of the risk of stirring panic, evacuation, quarantine, or closure.

Making a Terrorist Threat in the Second-Degree

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