State Rep.-elect Krajewski urges Gov. Wolf, state officials to provide compassionate release for elderly, vulnerable prisoners as COVID-19 crisis worsens

HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep.-elect Rick Krajewski recently penned a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and Corrections Secretary John Wetzel urging them to provide compassionate release for inmates across the state. 

“With over 47,000 individuals incarcerated in state prisons and community corrections centers, the increasing risk of this virus spreading to high-risk inmates is unacceptable,” Krajewski, D-Phila., wrote in a letter he sent to Wolf, Levine and Wetzel on Friday, Dec. 18. 

As of Friday, the statewide total of positive COVID-19 cases was at 538,655, and 13,608 deaths were attributed to COVID-19. 

In his letter, Krajewski noted that, as of 2018, nearly 1,900 people within the Department of Corrections’ population were over the age of 60, with many more under that age suffering from co-morbidities or otherwise compromised health.  

“Needlessly keeping elderly or compromised inmates incarcerated to face the pandemic without their loved ones and at constant risk of infection is inhumane and you must ensure that this does not continue,” Krajewski wrote. Additionally, Krajewski called on probation and parole agents and boards to “exercise their authority to quickly reduce the prison population,” by releasing people who have served their minimum terms. 

Finally, Krajewski implored Wolf, Levine and Wetzel to improve communications between DOC and the family members of incarcerated people. 

“No one should be coldly informed weeks after the fact that their loved one is suffering from COVID,” Krajewski wrote. “I call upon you and the appropriate agencies to ensure that timely and compassion notification is given to next of kin of an inmate acquiring COVID.”