70% more California inmates than previously estimated may be released early due to COVID-19

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In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, a row of general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, a row of general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

California state prison officials say as many as 17,600 inmates may be released early due to the coronavirus.

That’s 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police say includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up.

The earlier releases also are causing consternation as probation officers and community organizations scramble to provide housing, transportation and other services for inmates who may pose a public health risk because several hundred have been paroled while still contagious.

Officials have been under intense pressure to free more inmates, though officials say Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz is likely to block some of the earlier releases.

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