Los Angeles County decided to release more than 4,000 inmates because of coronavirus pandemic and warned that the region as "uncharted territory" in terms of public safety. County's sheriff recently announced to release 25 percent of inmate population of Los Angeles County that is equal to around 4,300 prisoners. He also closed down all the local gun stores and listed them under non-essential business.
County's Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been trying to decrease the inmate population. He is also reducing the number of prisoners booked in order to curb the spread of coronavirus in a department facility. The prisoners who were released are nonviolent criminals in pre-trial detention. It also includes those who are going to finish their sentence within one or two months.
According to Fox News, Sheriff was getting pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other activist groups to reduce the inmates' population from prisons to contain the spread of the virus. He said that if these inmates do not show up for court or start committing the crime again then it is going to affect the social agenda that ACLU proposed. Sheriff also recently released 10 percent of inmates' population that is around 1,700 prisoners on March 24.
United States Attorney General declares emergency for BOP
United States Attorney General William Barr declared an emergency for Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on March 4. It was due to seven inmates from two Federal Correctional Institution who died due to respiratory illness caused by COVID-19. BOP reported 91 inmates and 50 its staff members throughout 122 institutions have been diagnosed with coronavirus as on March 4.
Provision to release inmates from federal prisons into home confinement to control the coronavirus outbreak was included in $2 trillion stimulus bill signed by the President. Prior to the stimulus law, BOP was allowed to release inmates who have already served 90 percent of their sentence or do not have more than six months left.
"For all inmates whom you deem suitable candidates for home confinement, you are directed to immediately process them for transfer and then immediately transfer them following a 14-day quarantine," Barr directed the BOP in a memo released on Friday.
New York has also released it, 1,500 inmates, reducing the numbers to its lowest in 70 years. On March 19 he announced that city officials will identify and release people who were arrested for minor crimes and who are most vulnerable to infection due to underlying health problems. Mayor Bill de Blasio notified to release 20 percent of 5,447 city's inmates on April 10.