(FreedomJournal.org)- Prisons all over the country are releasing inmates early as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, and despite the obvious fact that prisoners can still contract the virus outside of prisons, you might be forgiven for expecting that inmates be tested for the virus before being released.
In Los Angeles County, California, however, that’s not happening. At all. According to reports from a county official, prisoners are being freed early without being subject to any tests at all.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, an official from the Los Angeles County Office of Diversion and Reentry claimed that inmates are being released with no tests being administered, and even when they are tested they aren’t being given their results until days after being released. It raises more questions about the already controversial plan which has resulted in crimes being committed by reoffenders across the country.
Peter Espinoza, a retired Superior Court judge, told the LA Times about the scandal.
“We slowed our work down in court and shifted our resources to address the number of people released from jail,” he said.
He explained how a further 211 beds were added to jail testing sites, and housing was found for a further 170 inmates in just two weeks. He also told the newspaper how inmates generally aren’t being tested for the virus “unless they show symptoms” and that “many service providers now are checking for symptoms when they arrive.”
It means that prisons in Los Angeles are focusing on reducing numbers without much regard for the facts.
The newspaper report looked at the example of Frank Cooper, an inmate who was freed early from Riverside County jail at the end of April. He was expected to serve a sentence until November, but he was allowed to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest. The case was shocking because Cooper, as a result, is living largely the same life as many other residents in California who didn’t commit a crime.
What kind of punishment is house arrest when most of the rest of the country is stuck at home throughout the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic?
Cooper told the LA Times that he was in quarantine while in jail and was administered a test before he was freed, but those test results were only given to him after he had already been approved for house arrest.
So what’s the point?
As of the start of May, California prison officials released over 5,500 prisoners into the public. Let’s see how many get rearrested…