Department of Justice Corrects Course with New Guidance on Home Confinement

Janessa Sambola-Harris, [email protected]

WASHINGTONWade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Department of Justice rescission of the Trump-era Office of Legal Counsel memo that would have returned people released from prison under the CARES Act once the COVID-19 emergency is lifted:

“This is a triumphant day for the people who were granted early and compassionate release under the CARES Act, and for their families and loved ones who have lived with the fear of having their lives torn apart again due to the previous administration’s memo on home confinement. Attorney General Garland’s decision to review the prior administration’s opinion and establish common sense processes that will allow people to stay home with their families is a step in the right direction toward justice and racial equity. We urge the Attorney General and the department to continue this path to end the harms caused by the criminal-legal system and support communities that have been impacted.”

Democracy Forward Foundation, The Leadership Conference, FAMM, the Justice Action Network, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Tzedek Association had urged Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Acting Assistant Attorney General Dawn E. Johnsen to reassess the memo in August. The full letter can be read here.

The Leadership Conference, ACLU, Amnesty International, Drug Policy Alliance, NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund had urged the Attorney General and the department earlier this month to pursue agency and policy changes that would advance racial equity. The reversal of the Office of the Legal Counsel’s interpretation of the CARES Act was among those issues. The full letter can be found here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit