From Ali Rockett at the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Douglas Johnson Jr. is waiting. Inside the Richmond City Justice Center, there’s not much else to do.
“It’s only a matter of time before an outbreak gets there,” his attorney, Ashley Shapiro with the Richmond Public Defenders office, said at a recent bond hearing, referencing the global COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s the grim prognosis most criminal justice experts have for local jails and state or federal prisons: It’s just a matter of time. Inmates are confined in close and closed spaces that don’t allow for social distancing.
Late Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Corrections announced that three prisoners had tested positive for COVID-19, as well as three department employees and one contractor. On Thursday, an employee at a juvenile detention center was confirmed to have the virus.
But jails — where the length of stay averaged just 17 days in 2017, according a study by the legislature’s Joint Commission on Health Care — are perhaps more vulnerable to the spread of disease…
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If you or a family member are in jail awaiting trial and have not been granted bond during this Coronavirus pandemic, contact our office and see how our attorneys Farheena Siddiqui and Brian Szmak may be able to help you through a bond motion or appeal if appropriate for your situation.