California Set to Release 8,000 Prisoners to Stop Coronavirus Spread
Releasing prisoners early will 'help improve social distancing rules'
California is set to free around 8,000 prison inmates early to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in-state prisons, according to officials.
The move is expected to see over half of the prisoners return to society by the end of July.
Releasing prisoners early will help improve social distancing rules, isolation, and quarantine measures, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said.
“We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”
Around 8,000 inmates could be released by the end of August, the department estimates.
Prisoners with a year or less left on their sentences will be eligible for early release.
But those with convictions of sex crimes and violent felonies are not.
As Neon Nettle reported, over 4,500 inmates in Illinois were freed from prison between March 1 and May 6.
Amongst those freed included pedophiles convicted of sex crimes against children.
Other crimes included assault, drug trafficking, and additional murder-related charges.
Prisoners released early will be tested for the virus within seven days of their return to society, the CDCR said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic first triggered government protection measures, California has reduced its prison population by 10,000.
The state prison system reported 5,841 coronaviruses among inmates to date.
That number increased by 864 in the past two weeks.
Infections among prisoners soared in the San Quentin State Prison in San Francisco's Bay Area after the transfer of 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Out of the San Quentin's 3,500 inmates, a third tested positive for COVID-19 following the transfer.
Director of nonprofit advocacy group Smart Justice California, Anne Irwin, praised Friday's announcement."
I will "protect the lives of people living and working inside prisons and in surrounding communities," she said.
“We applaud the Governor for working on two crucial fronts: getting the most vulnerable people out of harm’s way and stemming the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons and neighboring communities,” Irwin added.