New York City Releases 900 Inmates Amid Pandemic: Mayor

March 31, 2020 Updated: March 31, 2020

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city has released some 900 inmates in response to the viral pandemic.

The mayor confirmed the development on Tuesday in a press briefing, adding that another member of the New York City corrections department died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.

De Blasio said the inmates were released from city jails due to concerns they might contract the CCP virus.

He announced last week that the city would release hundreds of non-violent inmates. Those accused of violent crimes will not be eligible for release.

“It is a very complicated dynamic, it’s one that we’ve literally never dealt with before,” de Blasio said in a news conference last week. “I’m listening to all the input … But I want to make very clear that I’m making the ultimate decisions, taking in the advice from all these different sources and doing what I think is the right thing for this city,” he remarked.

His plan drew criticism from prosecutors around New York City.

The district attorneys for the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens, as well as special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan, said de Blasio is using a “haphazard process” to identify eligible inmates. Some sex offenders and those who are guilty of domestic violence may be released.

“We fully appreciate the unique risks that the COVID-19 virus poses in our jails,” the prosecutors wrote, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “At the same time, we want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety.”