LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Jails are reducing the number of inmates in their jails to reduce the risk of mass exposure to coronavirus.
A new rule from the state’s Judicial Council eliminates bail for nearly all misdemeanors and some low-grade felony charges, allowing anyone who has been booked or is awaiting trail in a county jail to be released without having to post bail. The temporary rule was issued earlier this month to safely reduce jail populations.
As a result, 3,500 inmates have been released from Los Angeles County’s jails, most of whom were awaiting trial, according to Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia said.
“As we think of the extraordinary precautions we are all taking, physical distancing, wearing masks, and constantly washing our hands, and remaining at home, we must remember that right now thousands of people are trapped in close quarters with no ability to take these basic precautions in order to protect themselves,” Garcia said in a statement.
The Public Defender is also working to decrease numbers in juvenile camps and halls that would allow for social distancing.
Under the new rule, Ventura County released 77 inmates and its current inmate populations is at approximately 1,000.
“I’m not thrilled with the idea of having 500 more criminals out on the streets of Ventura County right now,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a statement. “However, I’m proud of the work we have done alongside our partner agencies to carefully apply the new rule in the best way possible and keep our most dangerous and violent predators off our streets.”