After Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd he was sent to prison to await his sentence. But for his safety the ex-police officer was placed in a segregated housing unit at the Oak Park Heights prison. According to The New York Times, the former cop was sent to solitary confinement in an isolated wing. The decision was made to prevent him from interacting with other prisoners, for fear of violence against him.
Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the state prison system, explained that Chauvin will remain there while he awaits sentencing. He will be isolated in his cell except for the one hour each day he is allowed to exercise. Even during his one-hour activity, Chauvin will be kept away from other prisoners and will be watched by prison guards within the unit.
“He is on ‘administrative segregation’ status for his safety,” Fitzgerald explained. “Administrative segregation is used when someone’s presence in the general population is a safety concern.”
According to Fitzgerald, Chauvin will remain in isolation until sentencing which will be in eight weeks. The exact date has yet to be announced.
While Chauvin had been out on bail since October, Judge Peter Cahill revoked bail after the verdict. He will have to await sentencing behind bars, according to CNN.
As for Chauvin’s sentencing, it will depend on many factors, such as the state’s guidelines and whether the judge decides to pursue further time due to certain circumstances of the case. George Floyd’s killer could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for manslaughter. But it’s not likely that the sentencing will be that high.
Chauvin has no prior criminal record. The state will presume a sentence for both second-degree and third-degree murder to be 12 ½ years. The judge then uses their discretion to sentence the individual between 10 years and eight months and 15 years for each. For second-degree manslaughter, the state presumes a sentence of four years for someone with no record, such as in Chauvin’s case. The judge then uses discretion to hand down a sentence ranging from three years and five months to four years and eight months.
In Chauvin’s case, prosecutors requested a tougher sentence than the state recommends. Two filings by prosecutors last year claimed five aggravating factors warrant a harsher sentence. Prosecutors said Floyd was particularly vulnerable and that he was treated especially cruelly. Another filing cited that children were present when the crimes were committed.
If Judge Cahill applied aggravating factors, Chauvin’s sentence could shift toward the higher end of the legal range. Even so, the sentence would likely be served at the same time, rather than consecutively. Therefore, all three offenses would be served at the same time.
As for Chauvin’s current living situation, he is being kept in a small cell with only a bench and a mattress pad, a combination toilet and sink, and a tiny shower, according to the Times. Prisoners are allowed to bring necessities like clothing, toothpaste, and soap, as well as a pen and paper. Additionally, prisoners may receive books, magazines, or newspapers if the prison officials approve.
Chauvin will be monitored by cameras and guards are expected to check in on him every 30 minutes, as well as the 40 other prisoners being held in the isolation unit as of Wednesday.
The world awaits Derek Chauvin’s official sentencing, but many are already breathing a sigh of relief at the verdict announced on Tuesday.