Do I Need a Plan to Shelter in Place After Early Compassionate Release Due to COVID-19 or Coronavirus?

Prison advocate and reentry service providers say that California is releasing thousands of inmates early due to COVID-19 without proper transportation, support services, and housing.

London Croudy states that coming home is appreciated, but ‘realistic resources’ are essential as Legal Services for Prisoners with Children seeks to be with and help the released prisoners.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), due to the pandemic, has expedited the release of some 3,500 nonviolent inmates who had up to 60 days or less on their sentence.

The state has released around 2,000 inmates with others expected to be released later. The department has suspended any further intake from counties, and this leaves enough space for inmates and staff members to contain the spread of the virus. California’s prisons have witnessed the spread of the virus with 33 inmates and staff members being affected.


“Am I eligible for early compassionate release due to COVID-19 or coronavirus?” That depends. The court will weigh your crimes, your original sentence, your behavior while imprisoned, and more.

You are not automically included in any mass early release of inmates. You must have an advocate to argue your case for early release or compassionate release from prison due to COVID-19 or coronavirus. You may even qualify for early compassionate release based on the merits of your own individual case.

If you think you or someone you know might be eligible for early release from federal prison, federal prison camp, state prison, and other correctional facilities in California or New York, contact our offices at (858) 699-0375.


Leone Anderson, president of the group Alliance for Safety and Justice, calls the accommodation of people during the pandemic an important time to reexamine the meaning of ‘essential service’ and claims that these groups are not getting the needed help during the pandemic. She further maintains that bringing groups and state and local officials into contact is needed to empower these organizations to play their role.

Pastor Troy Vaughn, director of the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, raises questions as to why are the hand-off reentry programs are not being used, connected, or coordinated with the systems for better working. Nonprofits contract with counties and sheriffs’ departments to help reintegrate inmates into society. However, Vaughn calls the current situation responsible for inadequate planning and thus the absorption of inmates into communities difficult.

The problems have been acknowledged in a recent email blast obtained by NPR to several nonprofits. Krissi Khokhobashvili, the CDCR’s chief of external affairs, requests groups for assistance in transportation of inmates to reentry sites or their homes. However, Khokhobashvili declined to comment when contacted.

“Do I need a plan to shelter in place after early release due to COVID-19 or coronavirus?” Demonstrating to the court that you are committed to good behavior after early release is important. The court is considering releasing you because of the coronavirus pandemic, because of the danger of too many people too close together in prison, because of the threat to your own health based on a number of risk factors (hence “compassionate release”).

Are you or is someone you know might eligible for early release from prison? If you are incarcerated in federal prison, federal prison camp, state prison, and other correctional facilities in California or New York, contact our offices at (858) 699-0375.

The email alarmed advocates about safety measures.  Ken Oliver, the policy manager Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, termed it an unreasonable request to already stretched thin organizations to be a car service for inmates who have nowhere to go. Oliver went on to question what the later actions would be and deemed it unrealistic.


“Do I need a plan to shelter in place after early release due to COVID-19 or coronavirus?” Demonstrating to the court that you are committed to good behavior after early release is important. The court is considering releasing you because of the coronavirus pandemic, because of the danger of too many people too close together in prison, because of the threat to your own health based on a number of risk factors (hence “compassionate release”).

Are you or is someone you know might eligible for early release from prison? If you are incarcerated in federal prison, federal prison camp, state prison, and other correctional facilities in California or New York, contact our offices at (858) 699-0375.


State prison official maintains that they seek to assist recently released inmates to avoid homelessness and are offering additional funding to existing contractors. Gov. Gavin’s order has made the state with the help of FEMA and the counties to initiate contracts with hostels to provide temporary accommodation during the pandemic, but only a small number has been set aside for the newly released inmates.

Oliver says that the CDCR has not offered any financial assistance to these organizations or others to help. Anderson, with Alliance for Safety and Justice, calls it the release of more people a positive development and calls attention to the need for more funding and assistance, specifically “to safely operate in the context of a virus.”

“If I think I might be eligible for early release due to COVID-19 or coronavirus, what do I do next?” We’ll need to review your case before we make any assessments. To find out more, contact our offices at (858) 699-0375.

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