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17,600 California Prison Inmates Could Be Released Early

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Sacramento, CA — California officials say 70-percent more inmates than first initially anticipated months ago could be released early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

California currently has around 100,000 inmates in its prison system. State officials have been identifying “lower-level” offenders who may be eligible for the early release program. 3,500 were let go in early April and an additional 6,900 were deemed eligible in July. The total is now anticipated to reach 17,600, according to state officials.

The state reports that the move comes as 8,400 prison inmates have contracted COVID-19 and 51 have died. In addition, 2,000 state prison employees have been infected and there have been eight related deaths.

The early release, however, has posed new public safety and health challenges in that prisoners are being placed back into communities, and many lack housing arrangements, and they require probation services.

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