As many as 8,000 California prisoners could be released early in effort to stop coronavirus spread

California
Steps are being taking to potentially move some infected prisoners at San Quentin prison to a hospital in nearby Daly City.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Steps are being taking to potentially move some infected prisoners at San Quentin prison to a hospital in nearby Daly City.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

As many as 8,000 California prisoners could be released ahead of schedule in an unprecedented attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside state prisons, with more than half of the releases expected by the end of the month.

The announcement on Friday by top advisors to Gov. Gavin Newsom offered stark evidence of the dire health conditions at several California prisons. On Monday, the top medical officer for the state prison system was removed from his position following criticism of inmate transfers that are believed to have led to a much larger coronavirus problem in prisons than existed this spring.

Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said as many as 8,000 prisoners could be eligible for early release by the end of August. But those convicted of violent felonies and sex crimes would be ineligible for release. Only those with a year or less left to serve would be considered eligible.

“These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a written statement. “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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