Prison officials have announced California will release up to 8,000 people from state prisons to curb the spread of Covid-19 throughout the institutions.
Officials on Friday announced three separate efforts, approved by the governor, Gavin Newsom, that they say will decrease the prison population by 8,ooo by the end of August. The measures mark the largest release efforts the state administration has taken since Covid-19 began to circulate among prison staff and incarcerated people.
The first initiative expands a previous effort to expedite the release of people with 180 or fewer days left on their sentences to include people serving time for serious felonies.
The second measure is an immediate review of cases of people with less than a year left to serve in eight prisons that have large populations at high risk of developing Covid-19 complications.
The state will also launch a one-time program under which those incarcerated in state prisons, including people serving time for violent felonies, will receive a credit shortening their sentences by three months. People with recent rule violations and those who are sentenced to death or life without parole are excluded from the program. Prison officials say the program will affect roughly 108,000 people, or about 95% of the state prison population. For 3,100 people, the credit will allow their release when the program begins on 1 August.