He said the release of these inmates will drastically reduce the county’s jail population by 10 percent.
“We released inmates w/ under 30 days sentences for non-violent offenses (to reduce jail risk) & beefed up patrol by 1300 deputies.”
This move comes after a California State Prison inmate tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
For almost two weeks, Sheriff Villanelueva has been looking for as many inmates with safe releases as possible. These inmates had fewer than 30 days left on their sentences and were all convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors.
Villanueva said he has the power to speed up their releases and to let them go early, Dailynews reported.
He said he doesn’t anticipate any other large groups of inmates being released, but said his office has a plan to release inmates who may be sick to the care of the Department of Public Health. “We’re not going to hold anybody back whether or not they’re infected by the virus,” he said, adding that his office typically transfers inmates with terminal illnesses.
1 of 2 .#COVID19: We’ve donated masks, released inmates w/ under 30 days sentences for non-violent offenses (to reduce jail risk) & beefed up patrol by 1300 deputies. Those thinking that we’re not going to be hard on crooks are mistaken, there’s twice the deputies on the street! pic.twitter.com/ItWf7tmRbl
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) March 24, 2020
According to CBS News, the sheriff’s office will also release inmates who may not have a home to go back to after their release. He added that about 4,500 of the 15,000 people in the county’s jail system are homeless.
“For the homeless crowd, we’re definitely going to try to find a place for them but we’re not going to keep them in jail because they don’t have a home,” he added. “We have shelter spaces that have opened up now, the emergency operation center has been working very hard to generate that and I think we have 2,000 beds that have been established.”
Coronavirus has killed more than 21,000 people and affected over 472,000 since it emerged last December.
Since the pandemic hit the U.S., more than 200 deaths from Covid-19 were reported Wednesday in the United States — a new high for fatalities recorded in a single day, CNN reported.
Officials reported 223 deaths Wednesday, an increase higher than any other day. Tuesday saw 164 reports. Experts have said the numbers will rise dramatically as more tests are administered and analyzed.