California’s Los Angeles County has released 1,700 inmates, or about one out of every 10 inmates, in response to the new CCP virus.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that approximately 1,700 inmates were released as of the end of business Monday, lowering the jail population by roughly 10 percent.
All of the inmates had fewer than 30 days left on their sentences and were in jail because of nonviolent misdemeanors.
“At this point now, the process is a lot harder because now we’re getting into the weeds of pretrial detention,” he said.
Officials at the sheriff’s office are working with prosecutors and public defenders to try to curb appearances from inmates in court.
Asked if he expected to release additional inmates, Villanueva didn’t rule it out but said, “Not any big amount.”
“It’s not going to move the needle as much as we’ve done. All the low-hanging fruit, we’ve already picked it,” he added.
Any inmates in jail for violent crimes “will not be released under any circumstances,” according to the sheriff.
No confirmed cases of the virus exist in the jail system and the inmates are being screened before they’re released.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey told prosecutors last week to work to decrease the number of inmates in both jails and courthouses to try to slow the spread of the virus.
“I have asked my attorneys to consider the health risks in every decision they make,” Lacey said. “I have directed them to consider ways to keep nonviolent felony and misdemeanor offenders out of our jails and courthouses during this pandemic.”
Prosecutors were told to delay the filing of new cases and re-evaluate pretrial cases to let nonviolent criminals who don’t pose a danger to the community to remain outside the justice system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacey said she was working with Villanueva and other officials in reviewing approximately 2,000 cases of inmates to see if they could be released.
Law enforcement is making other moves, such as shifting 1,300 deputies from assignments that are not essential to the field to augment the personnel that are already in the field, Villanueva said.
Officers are focusing on patrolling supermarkets and big box stores and helping out those who are disabled.
Attempts to Close Gun Stores Halted
Villanueva’s office was attempting to shut down gun stores across the county, an effort that the sheriff defended during the press conference.
The attempts to close stores didn’t violate the Second Amendment because “it’s not an issue of banning the sales of guns,” the sheriff said.
Villanueva told Fox LA later in the day that county counsel Mary Wickham issued an opinion that gun stores can be classified as essential businesses under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide executive order.
The sheriff’s office is trying to get clarification on how gun stores should be classified.
No businesses have received citations so far, Villanueva told reporters.