SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday it will release 421 inmates by March 30.
The early releases were ordered to make room at county jails to properly house inmates potentially infected with the coronavirus.
The Sheriff’s office, in collaboration with the District Attorney and Public Defender offices, sought the initial court order leading to the release of 120 inmates. The most number of days any of those initial inmates had to serve was 11 days.
In this latest order, which the Sheriff’s Office did not seek out, the inmates released can have up to 60 days left on their sentence.
“This is a lawful order. We obviously will follow it. But from our perspective internally, we already have those plans in place to deal with a COVID-19 issue inside one of those facilities, so this feels over and beyond what’s necessary at this point,” said Sheriff’s spokesperson Tess Detering.
According to the sheriff’s office, inmates who meet one or more of the following criteria are eligible for release: no inmate serving time for a domestic violence or offense involving a victim of domestic violence; no inmate serving time for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and no inmate serving time for an offense that requires registration as a sex offender.
Based on that criteria, 421 inmates who are being housed at the main jail or the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center will be released on or before March 30.
Deterding pointed out the concerns with more inmates being released, while closed businesses remain vulnerable.
“Does this shift the burden to our patrol deputies who are out there trying to keep our closed businesses safe?”
The sheriff’s office also said that the inmates may be safer in jail where they haven’t been any COVID-19 cases, but now they’ll be in the community potentially being exposed to the virus and spreading it.