Senator says he’ll reconsider position on releasing prisoners early due to COVID

Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje (file photo)

Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje says he’ll reconsider his position on releasing prisoners early to slow COVID.

This is contrary to a hard stance he took in a release he issued yesterday.

Terlaje — who serves as chairman of a committee whose responsibilities include public safety — will hold an informational briefing on the mitigation of COVID-19 at the Department of Corrections.

DOC Deputy Director Robert Camacho said the department has been in talks with the governor’s office about possibly releasing some inmates early.

They would look at inmates who are considered low risk such as those who are scheduled for parole and may be released within a year.

Camacho says as of yesterday, 93 inmates and 43 DOC employees tested positive.

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Various states such as California and New Jersey have reduced their prison populations to slow the spread of COVID.

But Terlaje issued a release yesterday that said releasing inmates early “is not going to be an option on Guam”

He also said in the release, “I emphatically oppose the release of criminals as a COVID mitigation strategy.”

However, he told K57’s Patti Arroyo Friday morning that he is willing to reconsider his stance depending on the outcome of the hearing.

“I’m just waiting for some advice from the court and the Attorney General’s office. And this is why I had mentioned that as far as I know, we can’t outright release those prisoners up there because they have the COVID situation. But if we do get the legal opinion of the Attorney General, and talk with the director, then maybe we can come out with something like that to release some of those prisoners up there,” Terlaje said.

The hearing will be held next Friday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m.