California Will Release Up To 8,000 Prisoners Due To Coronavirus

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A corrections officer stands guard in late June at San Quentin State Prison. More than a third of the inmates and staff at the prison in the San Francisco Bay Area have tested positive for the coronavirus.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

‘Shocking, Heartbreaking’ Coronavirus Outbreak In Calif. Prison Alarms Health Experts

San Quentin had not reported any cases in the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the prison now has 1,336 cases among people in custody. An additional 205 cases have been diagnosed among its employees.

Some inmates at San Quentin and the California Institution for Men in Chino will now be eligible for early release. The corrections department said it will look to release prisoners who meet its criteria, have a year or less remaining on their sentence, and are incarcerated at «institutions that house large populations of high-risk patients.»

Folsom State Prison and five other facilities are also included in the plan. Inmates at the prisons who are age 30 and older and who meet the eligibility criteria «are immediately eligible for release,» the agency said. Younger inmates will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the pending releases, the corrections department said it has already reduced the population in its institutions by more than 10,000 inmates since mid-March.

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