Prisoner advocates in Massachusetts are redoubling their legal efforts to release inmates from state prisons because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a story reported on by WWLP/22 News, Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts argued in a Suffolk Superior Court filing Thursday that the state Department of Correction needs to release inmates to home confinement, furlough, medical parole, and other legal measures so that the remaining prisoners can safely socially distance behind bars.

The organization submitted accounts from roughly 40 inmates about crowded conditions in state prisons and their fears of contracting COVID-19 to bolster their appeal.

Also, Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts said four prisons — MCI-Norfolk, MCI-Shirley, NCCI Gardner, and MCI Concord — account for nearly all of the more than 1,000 new cases of the virus in the correctional system since Oct. 29.

Elizabeth Matos, the executive director of Prisoners' Legal Services, said, "The failure to create the opportunity to distance inside prison walls has resulted in uncontrolled outbreaks, mass sickness, and preventable deaths."

The Massachusetts Department of Correction declined to comment on the pending litigation, but noted its inmate population has dropped by more than 1,200 people since March, and its facilities are at 61% of capacity.

For more on the story, please check out WWLP/22 News' website here and we thank them for the update.

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