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CDCR to release up to 8,000 inmates statewide in response to COVID-19

Kern Valley State Prison (FILE)
Posted at 1:46 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 20:26:34-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday in an effort to protect its most vulnerable population and staff from COVID-19 the department plans to release up to 8,000 inmates by end of August.

The CDCR said in a statement it plans to allow state prisons to maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation, and quarantine efforts.

CDCR said previous pandemic emergency decompression efforts have reduced inmate populations systemwide by approximately 10,000, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within its facilities.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer issued a statement, rebuking the decision of the CDCD:

“Governor Newsom has made clear time and time again his intent to fill our communities with violent felons. He has repeatedly issued commutations for convicted, notorious killers, and now has opened wide the floodgates for violent felons to be released into our streets. Rather than implement policies that make our prisons safe, he has chosen to use the pandemic as an excuse to intentionally cripple the criminal justice system and single-handedly overrule sentences set by hundreds of judges across the state under laws approved by the People. The Newsom administration’s continuing actions are a dereliction of his duty to the citizens and laws of California.”

Some categories of releases will require additional review for certain inmates, and some cohorts will be screened on a rolling basis.

All individuals will be tested for COVID-19 within seven days of release.

For all those releasing under these efforts, CDCR is making victim notifications in accordance with all CDCR procedures and state law.

CDCR estimates that 4,800 people could be eligible for a 180-day release by the end of July. In order to be eligible, inmates must meet the following criteria:
· Have 180 days or less to serve on their sentence.
· Are not currently serving time for domestic violence or a violent crime as defined by law.
· Have no current or prior sentences that require them to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290.
· Not have an assessment score that indicates a high risk for violence.

CDCR is also reviewing for release inmates with 365 days or less to serve on their sentence, and who reside within identified institutions that house large populations of high-risk patients. In order to be eligible, inmates must meet the following criteria:
· Have 365 days or less to serve on their sentence.
· Are not currently serving time for domestic violence or a violent crime as defined by law.
· Have no current or prior sentences that require them to register as a sex offender.
· Not have an assessment indicating a high risk for violence.

Individuals who are 30 and over and who meet the eligibility criteria are immediately eligible for release. Those who meet these criteria and are age 29 or under will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for release.