Harrisburg, PA — Today the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)’s policy director, Donna Greco, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of a panel discussion on Governor Tom Wolf’s reprieve release order in response to COVID-19.
Ms. Greco’s remarks focused on the impact of releasing incarcerated individuals on victims of sexual violence and public safety concerns. As part of her testimony she highlighted that there is a difference between the release of incarcerated individuals at the county and state level. Governor Wolf’s executive order is specific to state-level incarceration and also specifies that individuals who have committed violent crimes or who pose a risk to public safety will not be released. She added that the administration has assured all stakeholders that any defendants named in an active Protection from Abuse (PFA), Sexual Violence Protection (SVP), and Protection from Intimidation (PFI) orders are automatically screened out.
In addition to offering recommendations to the Judiciary Committee and administration on how to proceed, Ms. Greco added, “we recognize the extreme challenges our leaders face in making decisions that balance public health and the safety of incarcerated populations with community safety and the needs of crime victims and their families. There is no existing blueprint for this. We trust that the agencies involved in determining who is eligible for release are committed to protecting victims and communities. We trust these decisions are being made using a victim-centered lens with much care and coordination.”
Her full remarks can be found on the committee’s website at https://judiciary.pasenategop.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/05/greco.pdf.