Northern California prison ordered to release, transfer 50% of inmates due to COVID-19

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MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (NewsNation Now) – A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that a prison near San Francisco must release or transfer half of its inmates to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The First Appellate District court ruling states that San Quentin State Prison must reduce its population from 3,547 to 1,775 inmates. The prison must also revise its expedited release program to include inmates who are older than 60 and who are eligible for parole after serving at least 25 years of their sentence, NewsNation affiliate KRON reported.

“We therefore recommend that the prison population at San Quentin be reduced to 50% of current capacity (even further reduction would be more beneficial),” the ruling states.

The report also explains that elderly inmates could be relocated to other prisons with safer conditions.

”Respondents shall ensure that inmates fitting the specifications of the Elderly Parole Program receive the ‘special consideration’ for release prescribed by that program,” the report states.

According to the document, 75% of the prison population has been infected with COVID-19 and 28 inmates have died from it.

Marin County has 15 days to appeal this decision.

NewsNation affiliate KRON contributed to this report.

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