Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Inmates Hit Payday in Pandemic, Study Shows Jaw-Dropping Numbers Are Being Set Free

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A study of local jails across America shows jail populations have been reduced at a shocking rate.
The Prison Policy Initiative — a nonprofit group that aims to “expose the broader harm of mass criminalization” — released its findings May 14, detailing how much jail populations have shrunk since the start of the pandemic.
Since January and February, inmate numbers at some jails have been reduced by more than 50 percent.
The study reveals that counties in Oregon, Arkansas, New Jersey, Washington state, Iowa and Kentucky have cut their inmate populations by more than half in the last few months.
The jail reductions are an apparent attempt to avoid embarrassing outbreaks of the coronavirus in lockup facilities.
The virus thrives in packed close quarters, making places like jails and nursing homes especially vulnerable.
“The typical jail has reduced its population by more than 30%,” according to the initiative. (The median jail reduction is 31 percent).
Not all of this jaw-dropping number is due to releases, either.
The initiative noted that a number of factors contribute to diminishing jail populations: “In some counties, police are issuing citations in lieu of arrests, prosecutors are declining to charge people for ‘low-level offenses,’ courts are reducing the amounts of cash bail, and jail administrators are releasing people detained pretrial or those serving short sentences for ‘nonviolent offenses.'”
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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