August 9, 2020 – According to the California Department of Corrections, the state is set to release up to 18,000 incarcerated prisoners by the end of August to “slow the spread of COVID-19,” says The Gateway Pundit in a July 15, 2020 article. Officials say releasing prisoners will help protect the “health and safety of the incarcerated population.”
These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff …
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz in a news release:
We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.
Planned Release Includes Convicted Murderer
An August 6, 2020 article by Breitbart reports, not only is this planned release of prisoners an increase of 70 percent from earlier releases, it also will include a convicted murderer. The article states that KTLA in Los Angeles issued a report on this convicted murderer to be part of the release. KTLA reported,
Among those released last week was Terebea Williams, who served 19 years of an 84 years-to-life sentence for first-degree murder, carjacking and kidnapping. She was deemed at high medical risk for the virus, though officials couldn’t say what put her in that category. (See Terebea Williams Story here.)
The Associated Press reported on the concerns from police, probation officers, and others involved in the re-entry of prisoners into society. Law enforcement agencies all believe that such a release could include dangerous criminals who should stay locked up. The AP spoke to the sister of the man Williams killed, Dena Love who asks:
Why is an inmate’s right more important than a victim’s?
The earlier releases also are causing consternation as probation officers and community organizations are scrambling to provide housing, transportation and other services for inmates who may pose a public health risk because several hundred have been paroled while still contagious, the AP reported.
The statewide transportation and services liaison between community groups and corrections officials, Karen McDaniel, told the AP:
It has just been a total madhouse, quite frankly, and we’re doing this in the midst of a pandemic.
California Police Chiefs Association president Eric Nunez acknowledged the dire situation in the state’s prisons, but said he is distressed that some inmates are being released without a consideration for the larger impact on public safety.
Officials said that some 8,000 inmates have been sickened by the virus and 51 have died. Almost 2,000 prison employees have been infected and eight have died, according to the AP (see Breitbart article here).
During California’s Second Shutdown, Gavin Newsom Releases Prisoners
There is no end date to the lockdown and Newsom said Black Lives Matter protests are allowed, this according to a Gateway Pundit article dated July 15, 2020.
The article states that violent criminals, pedophiles and sex offenders are being released by the thousands in California as Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom announced his second lockdown.
Demonstrators Chained Themselves to the Fence Outside Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Home
Officials have been under intense pressure from advocates, some state lawmakers and two federal judges to release more inmates, particularly after a botched transfer of infected inmates into San Quentin State Prison led to the state’s worst prison outbreak. Nearly 170 inmates there still are infected and 23 died, including 11 on death row. More than 2,000 have either recovered or were released while infected, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times on August 6, 2020.
Demonstrators who chained themselves to the fence outside Governor Newsom’s home last week said he has “presided over dozens of preventable deaths in state prisons” by not freeing far more inmates.
The first 3,500 inmates were freed after a federal judge who oversees one of the major lawsuits facing the prison system. Officials increased the estimated totals of releases from 10,400 to 17,600. 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.
Nationwide, more than 100,000 people were released from state and federal prisons between March and June, a decrease of 8%, according to an analysis by the Marshall Project and the Associated Press.
One article covers what may have caused the prison virus outbreak. See article here San Quentin Outbreak Tied To Inmate Transfer Relying On Outdated COVID-19 Test Results.
Differing Opinions on Inmate Releases
The releases of these inmates bring different opinions regarding the pros and cons of executing this decision. Recidivism is one concern with inmate releases due to the coronavirus. Recently, a career criminal freed due to the cornonavirus is charged in a home invasion murder in Maryland, see August 8, 2020 story here by Big League Politics.
As the country still reels from COVID-19 in their personal and work lives, this will be yet another issue the public will have to face. There are many concerns about public health and public safety, and only time will tell how this plays out in California and the whole country.