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Order of the Governor, PA, COVID-19 Release, 2020

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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
REGARDING INDIVIDUALS INCARCERATED IN
STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
have declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) a pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States of America has declared the COVID-19 outbreak
a national emergency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary has
declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to section 7301(a) of the Emergency Management Services Code, 35 Pa.
C.S. § 7301(a), I am charged with the responsibility to address dangers facing the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania (“Commonwealth”) that result from disasters; and
WHEREAS, in executing the extraordinary powers outlined above, I am further
authorized, pursuant to section 7301(b) of the Emergency Management Services Code, 35 Pa. C.S. §
7301(b), during a disaster emergency to issue, amend, and rescind executive orders, proclamations, and
regulations, and those directives shall have the force and effect of law; and
WHEREAS, on March 6, 2020, pursuant to section 7301(c) of the Emergency Management
Services Code, 35 Pa. C.S. § 7301(c), I proclaimed the existence of a disaster emergency throughout the
Commonwealth as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has taken extraordinary but vital measures to prevent the
spread of COVID-19, including ordering non-life sustaining businesses to close (pursuant to my
Business Closure Order of March 19, 2020, and as amended thereafter) and ordering all Commonwealth
individuals to stay at home (pursuant to my Stay at Home Order of April 1, 2020); and
WHEREAS, as of April 10, 2020, 19,979 persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in the
Commonwealth in all 67 counties, and 416 persons are reported to have died from the virus; and
WHEREAS, the complexities associated with mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in general are
even more heightened in the corrections environment, as evidenced by the advisement from the World
Health Organization that prisons around the world can expect “huge mortality rates” from COVID-19
unless they take immediate action, and that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) has issued specific guidance for disease prevention and control in these and other congregate
settings; and
WHEREAS, the Secretary for the Department of Health has advised that on balance, as a
general public health matter, considering all of the information available regarding the virus, its spread,
and concerns relating to congregate facilities, particularly prisons and jails, and the ability to respond
to the pandemic, minimizing the number of individuals in correctional facilities reduces the risk of rapid
transmission of COVID-19 between residents and staff in correctional facilities by better allowing for
the institution of social distancing and other mitigation efforts; and
WHEREAS, the Secretary for the Department of Corrections has identified individuals who are
currently incarcerated by the Department of Corrections, including those who are at greater risk from
the effects of COVID-19, and who may be temporarily and safely released from the current sentence of
state incarceration to supervised community placement; and

WHEREAS, in addition to general powers during a disaster emergency, I am specifically
authorized, pursuant to section 7301(f)(5) and (7) of the Emergency Management Services Code, 35 Pa.
C.S. § 7301(f)(5) and (7), to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any
stricken or threatened area within this Commonwealth if this action is necessary for the preservation of
life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery and to control ingress and egress to and from a
disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises therein; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Article IV, Section 9 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, Pa. Const. Art. IV, § 9(a), I am specifically authorized to grant reprieves in all criminal
cases except impeachment.
NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me and the Executive branch by the
laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I do hereby ORDER and PROCLAIM as follows:
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shall establish a Reprieve of Sentence of
Incarceration Program as the Department of Corrections deems necessary to transfer to Community
Corrections Centers, Community Corrections Facilities, or home confinement vulnerable
individuals who would otherwise be eligible for release within the next twelve (12) months; or any
inmate within nine (9) months of their minimum eligibility release date. In either instance, the inmates
must meet the defined criterion and the release must not pose a risk to public safety.
Vulnerable inmates shall include inmates at risk based upon age, anyone with autoimmune
disorders, who is pregnant, or who has serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes,
chronic respiratory disease, bone marrow or organ transplantation, severe obesity, kidney disease, liver
disease, and cancer, or other medical condition that places them at higher risk for coronavirus, as
defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Regardless of the sentence imposed, the Reprieve of Sentence of Incarceration Program would
not apply to:
(1)  persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing a personal injury
crime, or any criminal attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit a
personal injury crime as defined in section 103 of the act of November 24, 1998
(P.L.882, No.111), known as the Crime Victims Act;
(2)  persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing a crime of
violence, or any criminal attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit
a crime of violence as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9714(g) (relating to sentences for second
or subsequent offenses);
(3) persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing an offense under
18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to firearms and other dangerous articles) or a criminal
attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit the offense;
(4)  persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing an enhancement
for the use of a deadly weapon as defined under law or the sentencing guidelines
promulgated by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing or where the attorney for
the Commonwealth has demonstrated that the defendant has been found guilty of or
was convicted of an offense involving a deadly weapon or a criminal attempt, criminal
solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit the offense or an equivalent offense under
the laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the
District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a foreign nation;
(5)  persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing a violation of any
of the following provisions or an equivalent offense under the laws of the United States
or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a foreign nation, including a criminal attempt,
criminal solicitation or criminal conspiracy to commit the offense:
18 Pa.C.S. § 4302(a) (relating to incest).
18 Pa.C.S. § 5901 (relating to open lewdness).

18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 76 Subch. C (relating to Internet child pornography).
A criminal sentence pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9712.1 (relating to sentences for
certain drug offenses committed with firearms).
An offense listed under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of
sexual offenders).
An offense listed under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. I (relating to continued
registration of sexual offenders).
(6)  persons committed for or with an aggregate sentence containing an offense of drug
trafficking as defined in section 4103 (relating to definitions) or a criminal attempt,
criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit drug trafficking as defined in
section 4103;
(7)  persons who are subject to a pending felony or misdemeanor arrest warrant or
detainer;
(8) persons who are currently serving a sentence to State prison and have been denied
parole on that sentence;
(9)  persons convicted of any criminal offense committed while incarcerated;
(10) persons who pose an identifiable risk to public safety; or
(11) persons with a prior conviction within the past 10 years for any crime contained
under paragraphs (1) - (5) above.
Notwithstanding any criterion set forth above, a person who has received a positive Board Action
from the Parole Board and who remains incarcerated is eligible for the Reprieve of Sentence
of Incarceration Program.
Further, the Department will confer with the Court, the Office of Attorney General, and District
Attorney’s Office in the county from which the inmate was sentenced prior to any inmate
being recommended by the Department pursuant to this program.
Each inmate that the Department recommends through the Reprieve of Sentence of
Incarceration Program will be submitted to me for consideration for issuance of a conditional
reprieve. Each reprieve will be contingent upon compliance with all terms and conditions of community
supervision imposed by the Department. The reprieves will temporarily suspend the sentences of
incarceration of those persons who qualify and comply with supervision requirements for such length of
time as may be necessary to respond to the Disaster Emergency proclaimed on March 6, 2020, or at
such time as the Disaster Emergency is terminated.
This order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for the duration of the disaster
emergency. 

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor,
at the city of Harrisburg, on this tenth day of April two
thousand twenty, the year of the commonwealth the
two hundred and forty-fourth.

TOM WOLF
Governor

 

 

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