Police are seeing a rise in certain types of crimes and while arrests are being made, not everyone will be charged by the Attorney Generals Office…at least not during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under normal circumstances, if you do the crime, you do the time. But as the Attorney General’s Office explains, these are not normal circumstances.
“Under COVID-19 circumstances, our government, like governments across the globe, is fighting to control the spread of this deadly disease. The only way we can do that is to reduce human-to-human contact, paying careful attention to areas within our community with highly concentrated populations, such as prisons,” the AG said.
Exposure to the virus in the prison setting can spread like wildfire as those who serve in the island’s prison are possible carriers of COVID-19 while shuttling between the community and the prison.
For this reason, the OAG has decided to book and release some people who are arrested during this emergency period until their court hearing or trial date.
AG Spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros stressed that whether a person is “booked and released” or “booked and confined,” every person will still have to face the justice system. And if found guilty, “each person will be held accountable for his actions.”
Charfauros says working remotely makes it difficult to compile data regarding the number of arrests and those charged but says that those who commit violent crimes will be booked and confined.
For those not confined, she says: “It is standard practice that every citizen who is ‘booked and released,’ is issued a Notice to Appear in court within 3 years if the conduct would be a felony and within 1 year if the conduct would be a misdemeanor.”