Washington, D.C. — In the last days of the Trump administration, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo that would require as many as 3,800 individuals placed on home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be returned to prison once the public health emergency ends. On August 4, 2021, Democracy Forward—along with FAMM, Justice Action Network, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Tzedek Association—sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the Office of Legal Counsel making it clear that the Trump-era memo is incorrect as a matter of law and should be rescinded.
This week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will revisit and reconsider the reasoning behind the Trump-era memo. In response, Democracy Forward President & CEO Skye Perryman released the following statement:
“The Trump-era memo is incorrect as a matter of law. Its conclusion is inconsistent with the plain text of the CARES Act as well as the pre-existing authority for home confinement. What’s more, it interferes with the ability of potentially as many as 3,800 individuals living on home confinement to successfully reintegrate into society. Keeping them in a constant state of fear of returning to prison is not only antithetical to the goals of home confinement; it is cruel. The Department of Justice’s announcement that it intends to revisit the Trump administration’s memo is an important step forward in securing the complete rescission that Democracy Forward and collaborating organizations demonstrated in our August letter is legally required.”
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 to litigate challenges to unlawful government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and reversed dozens of harmful policies. Democracy Forward is expanding its work, building on its success to confront unlawful threats to democracy and social progress.