What to Know
- New Jersey has been hard hit by the novel coronavirus with at least 1,932 deaths and 54,588 COVID-19 cases as of Friday.
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says certain prisoners could be moved to temporary home confinement or freed on parole because of the spread of COVID-19 under a new executive order.
- Murphy said Friday that state correctional institutions are seeing COVID-19 spread within their walls leading him to sign the order.
Nearly 2,000 people have now died from new coronavirus complications in New Jersey as the state's governor takes action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons.
With 233 new cases announced Friday, the total number of COVID-19 related deaths was at 1,932.
"Behind these stark and impersonal numbers are real people and real families," Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday. "We must remember them."
The total number of positive cases was at least 54,588 as of Friday after Murphy announced 3,627 new cases.
Some Prisoners to Get Out
Certain prisoners deemed low-risk could be moved to temporary home confinement or freed on parole because of the spread of COVID-19 under an executive order Murphy announced Friday.
State correctional institutions are seeing COVID-19 spread within their walls, the governor said, leading him to sign the order.
"Social distancing is extremely hard to accomplish in a prison setting," Murphy said. "Allowing some of our most vulnerable individuals who do not pose a public safety threat to temporarily leave prison will protect both their health and the health of those working in our correctional facilities."
Murphy stopped short of calling them releases, but rather said that sentences would be furloughed or transferred to home confinement.
Among those who could be considered for home confinement are people 60 or older and those with high risk medical conditions," Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks said.
People convicted of what Murphy called serious crimes like murder or rape would not be eligible for home confinement or parole.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections will continue to monitor anyone who is let out of prison.
At least one prisoner and one corrections officer have died from COVID-19, officials said.
On Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf in neighboring Pennsylvania also announced that some prisoners would get out to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
No In-Person Easter Egg Hunts
Murphy continues to urge social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. He understands this changes normal Easter traditions.
“Leave the gathering to FaceTime or Zoom," he said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.