Incarcerated in County State or Federal Prison During COVID-19

by Lauren A Wimmer on Apr. 24, 2020


Summary: Getting arrested and being stuck in jail while fighting criminal charges is frustrating and difficult enough. Being arrested and incarcerated in the age of the novel coronavirus puts your health at risk even more than usual as social distancing is near impossible in a prison. With courts closed to the public and emergency hearings being held for only certain motions and cases, you or a loved one could be sitting in jail much longer than you would otherwise.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, experts immediately expressed concerns about inmates in jails and prisons throughout the country. In such close quarters, it is virtually impossible to effectively stop the virus from spreading to all inmates. Staff and visitors are also at risk. In response to these risks, the entire criminal justice system has been taking extraordinary measures to protect the population in these dangerous times.

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has announced that it will be closed to the public until the end of May. This will result in the postponement of all criminal hearings and trials in the courthouse. It’s not just the courts taking action, either. In mid-March, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner was revising his office’s policies surrounding charging and bail. Many defense attorneys have called for expanded pretrial release for nonviolent offenders and the ability to file emergency motions for bail reductions and detainer hearings. It is extraordinary to see a high-ranking prosecutor also change policies in favor of defendants. This shows just how serious the pandemic has become. It has crossed partisan barriers to become a human rights issue – and all too often, a matter of survival.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.