LA Sheriff’s Office Releasing Some Inmates From Jail to Combat Coronavirus

March 16, 2020 Updated: March 16, 2020

The Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Office announced it will release some inmates in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus after several sheriff’s office employees came into contact with people who tested positive for the new virus.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday at a press conference that his department is reducing the jail population to reduce the spread of the disease by more than 600 inmates, according to the Los Angeles Times. Twenty-one inmates in the Men’s Central Jail are quarantined, while five are quarantined at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, and nine are in isolation at the Correctional Treatment Center, he said.

“All of them are receiving the necessary level of care,” Villanueva said.

The office reduced the jail population to 16,459 inmates since Feb. 28, including for inmates who had 30 days or less to serve in jail, he said. Meanwhile, he directed local agencies to cite and release as many suspects as they can, according to LAist.

Deputies were told to cite and release people when they could and said they will now have to get medical clearance before arresting someone who showed symptoms, according to the LA Times.

During the same press conference, he said that purchasing more guns isn’t recommended.

“Buying guns is a bad idea,” Villanueva said. “Particularly, you have a lot of people now that are at home—normally, they’re not. Cabin fever sets in, you’ve got a crowded environment, people at home—weapons are not a good mix.”

More deputies will be sent to places such as stores and shopping centers, Villanueva said.