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California says 17,600 inmates may be freed early

California

FILE – In this July 27, 2020, file photo, a California Highway Patrol officer inspects a chained protester who was part of a group calling for mass prison inmate releases outside of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mansion in Fair Oaks, Calif. California state prison officials say in a recent court filing that as many as 17,600 inmates are eligible for release due to the coronavirus, 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police say includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up. (Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials say as many as 17,600 inmates may be released early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That is 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police say includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up. However, prison officials say Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz is likely to block the release of about 5,500, in part because many are serving life sentences.

Early releases also are causing consternation as probation officers and community groups scramble to provide housing, transportation and other services for inmates who may pose a public health risk because nearly 300 have been paroled while still contagious..

Officials have been under intense pressure from advocates, some state lawmakers and two federal judges to release more inmates.


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