Inmate with serious health issues to be released amid fears of COVID-19 in prisons

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An inmate with serious health problems will be let out of federal custody after he went to court over fear of contracting COVID-19 behind bars — a move his lawyer hopes will open the door for other vulnerable prisoners.

The Correctional Service of Canada has granted Derrick Snow a temporary absence, to begin next Tuesday, as pressure mounts for officials to release aging and frail prisoners who are more likely to suffer badly from the virus.

“I just got off the phone with Mr. Snow and he is profoundly relieved by this decision,” his lawyer, Paul Champ, said Thursday.

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Snow, 53, is serving a sentence at Ontario’s Bath Institution, near Kingston, for breaking-and-entering and theft. He has diabetes and pulmonary disease and was recently diagnosed with malignant sarcoma.

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Snow had submitted an application April 2 to the prison warden for an unescorted temporary absence and,

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