Citing coronavirus, California may release up to 18,000 prisoners by the end of August

Measures meant to protect 'health and safety of the incarcerated population.'

Updated: July 11, 2020 - 12:21pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The state of California may see as many as 18,000 inmates released by the end of August in an effort to decrease prison population density and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations announced on Friday that "up to 8,000 currently incarcerated persons could be eligible for release by end of August" under new measures promulgated this week. 

Those releases would come after the state's earlier "pandemic emergency decompression efforts" have released roughly 10,000 inmates already, measures CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said were undertaken "to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff."

The department said it is working with law enforcement and other community authorities in order to "leverage state and federal resources for housing in the community to help meet the reentry needs of these individuals." The government is also notifying the victims of released criminals, per state law. 

Inmates are not eligible for release if they possess violent criminal histories and/or crimes that require sex offender registration. Those who have "an assessment score that indicates a high risk for violence" are also not eligible. 

Up to 4,800 inmates may be released by the end of July alone, the department said. 

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