California is planning to release up to 8,000 inmates directed under a new state plan that will reduce the amount of prisoners during a COVID-19 outbreak in jails.
This announcement comes from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. They were also coming up with ways to permit social distancing in prison, protect inmates and staff, and somehow find a way to "create extra space" per a report on KTVU.
"The potentially 8,000 eligible inmates could see early release by the end of August. It comes as cases of COVID-19 climb at several prisons, especially San Quentin where more than 1,600 inmates and 200 employees have contracted the virus.
“This is absolutely critical for the health and safety of every Californian,” Jay Jordan with Californians for Safety and Justice said. “Too many people are incarcerated for too long in facilities that spread poor health.” (KTVU)
The releases will not be permitted for everyone. If a prisoner has one year or less on their sentence, then they might qualify. There's also other restrictions. For example, any inmate who was locked up for violent crimes such as domestic violence, s-x offenders, or anyone else who might be a "risk" for violence simply won't qualify.
It appears this measure is to give non-violent offenders an early release to free up space in the prison, which will then send non-violent inmates home if they have one year or less remaining on their sentence.
When it comes to medical concerns, the report says any inmates who qualified for the early release will face a mandatory COVID-19 test within one week of their release.
It's unclear what happens if they test positive.
There was also a recent rally outside of the San Quentin prison where people demanded that Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom spring into action and fix the prison COVID problem.
One person in attendance was quoted saying, “Free my baby. Free them all,” Shawanda Scott, the mother of an inmate with COVID-19 said. “My son’s life is important.”