Resource: King's Bench Petition on County Jails during COVID-19


March 30, 2020


The ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Pennsylvania Prison Society filed an emergency request asking the state Supreme Court to use its “King’s Bench” power to protect public health by ordering county common pleas courts to release some people from county jails, including those who are at high risk of serious illness or death if infected by COVID-19 and those who are held pretrial or on short sentences for minor offenses. The petition argues that drastically reducing jail populations to allow jails the space to follow CDC-recommended safe social distancing and hygiene practices is the only way to prevent widespread contagion, which will inevitably infect people who are incarcerated, jail staff, and the surrounding communities.