The State Correctional Department has already reduced the prison population by 10,000 to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
To be eligible for release, inmates must have one year or less of time to serve their sentence and must not be serving family violence or a violent crime. They should also not be sentenced to a current or previous sentence that requires the registration of sex offenders and should not be considered to be at high risk of violence. Eligible persons over the age of 30 will be taken into account immediately, while those under the age of 29 will have their release considered on a case-by-case basis.
Inmates who are “high risk”, such as those over the age of 65 with chronic health conditions, may also be considered for release.
Smart Justice California director Anne Irwin welcomed the decision in a press release, saying it was “the right decision to help protect the lives of people living and working in prisons and surrounding communities.”
The move comes as California joins the states by seeing record cases in COVID-19 after the restrictions are lifted.
On Thursday, California set a new record for the daily number of deaths from the virus, with 149 new deaths and just over 7,000 new cases of the virus. The total number of cases in the state since the start of the pandemic is now over 300,000.