‘I think now would be the time, to commute some sentences, to exact clemency and to take care of our most vulnerable…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A Utah prisoner released early due to concerns about the Wuhan virus’s spread was arrested again this week after he forcibly broke into a woman’s home and attempted to rob her.
The criminal, 42-year-old Joshua Haskell, was released from Utah State Prison just two days before he committed his next crime.
He would not normally have been let go, according to the Deseret News, but “due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, he was suddenly released” on March 17.
On March 19, Haskell “forcibly entered [a woman’s] home … [and] using a large, serrated knife, he threatened the homeowner and tied her up with shoelaces.”
According to the Herald Extra, the woman was sure he was going to kill her.
He demanded the homeowner give him her car, cash, bank cards, and PIN numbers, repeatedly warning that he would “chop off her head” if she gave him the wrong numbers.
The woman’s son, however, heard her screams and called the police.
They arrested Haskell at gunpoint and charged him with the first-degree aggravated burglary, third-degree aggravated kidnapping, drug possession and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.
Haskell’s arrest is significant because Democratic politicians are actively demanding that state prisons release certain criminals early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think now would be the time, to commute some sentences, to exact clemency and to take care of our most vulnerable. Ten percent of those incarcerated are over the age of 60 and already have an underlying condition. We should be using compassionate release,” Pressley told MSNBC.
Conservatives, however, have warned that early releases could have detrimental consequences to the public safety.