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California Releases Inmates to Stop ‘Overcrowding’

California  is releasing inmates from its jails to prevent the spread of coronavirus in close quarters but also moving homeless people to recreation centers in residential areas, Breitbart reports.

According to the Los Angeles Times, law enforcement officials have accelerated efforts to release inmates from Los Angeles County. The LA County Sheriff’s Department “has reduced its inmate population by 6% in the last three weeks and Dist. Atty Jackie Lacey said her office will consider reducing bail for thousands of nonviolent offenders.” There were no confirmed coronavirus cases inside L.A. County jails as of Thursday, the Times notes.

As of Thursday morning the number of inmates was down to 16,017 inmates from 17,076 on Feb. 28. More California counties are releasing inmates to protect their jails against possible coronavirus outbreaks. In Alameda County, officials announced 247 people were being released from the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. San Diego County officials have announced similar moves, as have San Francisco, San Mateo and other counties.

But on Friday, the city began implementing a plan to move thousands of homeless people into temporary shelters inside recreational buildings in residential areas.

The plan is opposed even by some homeless people, who fear they will be more susceptible to coronavirus inside shelters — even with beds 6 feet apart — than in the open.

Officials are struggling to prevent a coronavirus outbreak among homeless people who live in crowded makeshift encampments alongside streets and in vacant lots. They are also trying to create space for “social distancing” inside existing homeless shelters by relocating residents.