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Biden’s justice reforms should extend to inmates sent home by COVID

In many ways, Jesse Ubaldo Rodriguez is just like most Americans struggling to make a living during a global pandemic. He is married, employed at a heating, ventilating and air conditioning company, and when he’s not working, Rodriguez is pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Texas’ Odessa College. But Rodriguez has one additional burden to bear: He lives in constant fear of being sent back to prison.

Rodriguez was convicted of participating in a drug conspiracy nearly a decade ago and sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. In 2015, his sentence was reduced to 14 years because of a reform approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early last year and began spreading quickly throughout the federal prison system, the Bureau of Prisons moved thousands of people like Rodriquez (who had already served nearly eight years and was not a public safety threat) home to serve out the rest of their sentences.

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