As we continue to work to reduce jail populations amid the COVID-19 emergency, ensuring that parole-eligible people are being released in a timely manner is more important than ever.
Today ACLU-WV filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Act for records from the West Virginia Parole Board to help determine how the board is deciding what inmates and prisoners to release and why.
Across the country, jails and prisons have turned into COVID-19 hotspots, making those who are incarcerated and those who work in the system sitting ducks for infection. It is impossible to adhere to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for social distancing in these overcrowded facilities.
We also are seeking parole records broken down by race because we know that Black people have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. It is therefore important that we take conscious steps to mitigate that impact and ensure that parole is being administered fairly.
We will monitor the board’s response to our request, and publish any records released to us. The full request can be viewed below.