JaneAnne Murray
Associate Clinical Professor of Law

Prof. Murray's Clemency Project Assists ACLU Action Against Federal Prison for Handling of COVID-19 Spread

Professor JaneAnne Murray and students from the school's Clemency Project, which Murray directs, provided assistance to the ACLU of Minnesota and Ballard Spahr LLP in developing and researching a class action against the Bureau of Prisons and the Warden of Waseca FCI for its handling of COVID-19 at the women's-only federal prison in Minnesota.  As the ACLU notes in its press release, "[o]ne positive test in August led to 439 inmates contracting the virus in just three months – a staggering 70% of inmates."  The lawsuit seeks emergency orders requiring: the immediate transfer of the most medically vulnerable individuals to home confinement; immediate implementation of social distancing and hygiene measures; and adequate medical care for those still suffering from COVID-19 even after the BOP has declared them “recovered.” The press release quotes Murray: "So many of the vulnerable prisoners in Waseca are serving sentences they would not receive today in any humane sentencing system . . . The BOP had a chance to release a large portion of them to home confinement and failed to do so. Hopefully, in addition to the global action the ACLU seeks, this lawsuit causes judges to use their power to grant individual prisoners compassionate release.”