Johnson Secures Release of Non-Violent Offenders from Erie County Jails Concerns Expressed About Health and Safety During COVID-19 Spurs Action

Legislator Howard Johnson, Chair of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee,   announced that the Erie County District Attorney has agreed to release from custody, 17 non-violent prisoners serving their sentences in the Erie County Correctional Facility to help reduce the risk from the COVID-19 virus.

The District Attorney engaged in this action after Legislator Johnson sent a letter to, and spoke with District Attorney John Flynn inquiring about the status and possible release of non-violent offenders or detainees in Erie County’s Holding Center and Correctional Facility due to the COVID-19 crisis.  Legislator Johnson expressed his support for the District Attorney’s action in which 17 prisoners with less than 45 days remaining on their sentences for non-violent crimes have all been released early in order to help avert a COVID-19 outbreak in the jail.

“I am grateful to the District Attorney for his consideration and conversation on this very important topic. The public health of all our Erie County residents is imperative during this time of crisis. This was the right move to make to ensure the safety and well-being of prisoners and jail staff alike and prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 ,” said Legislator Johnson.

The District Attorney has been individually reviewing all bail applications made and will continue to do so for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Added Johnson, “I know the District Attorney and his staff have been working diligently along with many dedicated defense attorneys who have filed motions for their clients to serve out their sentences in the safety of their homes.  I thank them for their support in this and I hope everyone stays home and stays safe.