SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- Hundreds of Sacramento County inmates are scheduled to be released early to help reduce the prison population as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the state.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office reports an order from the Sacramento County Superior Court directed the release of inmates who have 60 days or less remaining on their sentence. That means 421 inmates currently at the Sacramento County Main Jail or the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center will be released on or before March 30.
Not all inmates qualify for release, however. The sheriff's office says those whose offenses involve domestic violence or a victim of domestic violence, driving under the influence or sex offender registration will not be eligible for early release.
The court order comes a week after more than 100 inmates were released in Sacramento County amid concerns of COVID-19 spreading in the jails.
“We did release approximately 120 inmates pursuant to that order,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tess Deterding. “Nobody had more than 11 days left on their sentence.”
Deterding said they had already created enough space within the Main Jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in the event of an outbreak.
“The population that’s just getting out of jail has a higher propensity to be committing crimes than just a regular citizen Joe that you would encounter on any given day,” she explained.
Earlier this month, visitations at the jail and correctional center were canceled through at least March 30 to prevent the spread of the virus.
Crime drops as people stay inside
At the same time, some other law enforcement jurisdictions say the order to stay home for the general public has helped drop crime rates over the past few weeks.
“I can see that the numbers are approximately 15 to 20% lower than what they were at this time last year,” said West Sacramento Police Sgt. Eric Angle.
West Sacramento resident Brad Fauble told FOX40 he and others on his block were keeping an eye on their neighborhood while many are staying very close to home.
“A good way to get community involved,” Fauble said. “There still is a lot of people out there but there’s just fewer of them on the roads.”