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Coronavirus

California to Release 17,600 Inmates Due to the Pandemic

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California officials say as many as 17,600 inmates may be released early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That is 70% more than previously estimated and a total that victims and police say includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up. However, prison officials say Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz is likely to block the release of about 5,500, in part because many are serving life sentences.

Early releases also are causing consternation as probation officers and community groups scramble to provide housing, transportation and other services for inmates who may pose a public health risk because nearly 300 have been paroled while still contagious..

Officials have been under intense pressure from advocates, some state lawmakers and two federal judges to release more inmates.

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