Jurisdictions in at least five states have begun releasing prisoners from jails to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, according to news outlets this week.
Inmates in New York, California, Ohio and Florida have either been released or soon will be, Fox News reported.
In the Pittsburgh area, nearly 100 inmates were to be released from the Allegheny County Jail as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, ABC affiliate WTAE reported.
Iran and Britain have taken similar measures.
California Sen. Kamala Harris on Thursday sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal calling for the release of “low-risk” inmates in California.
New York City is set to release “vulnerable” inmates who have underlying health conditions, as well those who were arrested for minor crimes, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
One inmate at the city’s main detention facility on Rikers Island has tested positive and another eight were showing symptoms. The eight individuals “have been moved also to isolation within the communicable disease unit,” De Blasio said during a news conference.
Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, convicted of sexual assault and rape and sentenced to 23 years earlier this month, was to be moved from Rikers to a prison near Buffalo along the Canadian border.
Los Angeles County has reduced its inmate population by 600 in the last two weeks, city officials said on Tuesday.
“These defendants are the lowest public-safety risk”
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it has released more than 300 inmates from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, NBC affiliate KNTV in San Jose reported.
Cleveland-based Cuyahoga County judges held emergency hearings resulting in hundreds of inmates being freed, Fox-affiliate WJW reported.
Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County in Tampa, Florida, said Thursday he had released or will be releasing 164 prisoners.
“These defendants are the lowest public-safety risk and were merely sitting in jail because they could not afford to pay the amount it would take to bond out,” Chronister said during a news conference. “These defendants will still have to answer to the charges against them.”
The releases comes a week after multiple left-leaning organizations called on government officials to mass release prisoners, curb arrests and reduce enforcement of immigration laws.