PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Concerns over the coronavirus now have officials in Washington state releasing some inmates early.
The spread of the coronavirus has been a concern in jail systems, considering it’s impossible to implement proper social distancing. But after corrections staff and inmates tested positive for COVID-19 — steps are being taken.
Washington state will release nearly 1,000 inmates early who are serving for non-violent crimes.
This is to create space for physical distancing in its prisons after a coronavirus outbreak spread to one of its largest facilities. The move comes after several inmates filed lawsuits, requesting the release of almost 12,000 people incarcerated.
The Washington Supreme Court ordered Gov. Jay Inslee and the Corrections Department to submit a safety plan for inmates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
At least 14 correction employees and eight inmates have tested positive for the virus.
Inslee says these inmates are being released early — but only by a matter of weeks or months. They’ll be released through lesser penalties while others will be released into home detention.