California will release an estimated 8,000 people incarcerated in the state’s prison system early after growing outbreaks inside the facilities caused thousands of infections and more than two dozen deaths.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation today said the action was being taken to “maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation, and quarantine efforts.” The department estimated the 8,000 prisoners could be eligible for release by the end of August under the new measures.
At San Quentin Prison in Northern California, the site of the worst coronavirus outbreak in the state’s prison system, more than 1,300 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 and seven have died.
“These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” Corrections and Rehabilitations Department Secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement. “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.