California is planning to release as many as 3,500 inmates from its state prisons in an effort to reduce crowding amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced on Tuesday that it would expedite the transition to parole for nonviolent offenders with 60 days or less left on their sentences, with priority going to individuals with less than 30 days left.
The CDCR also said that it would temporarily suspend intake from county jails, a move that could reduce the prison population by an additional 3,000 within a month.
“We do not take these new measures lightly. Our first commitment at CDCR is ensuring safety — of our staff, of the incarcerated population, of others inside our institutions, and of the community at large,” CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement. “However, in the face of a global pandemic, we must consider the risk of COVID-19 infection as a grave threat to safety, too.”