Actions to Reduce Population and Maximize Space
In an effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic inside the state’s prisons, CDCR implemented emergency measures to protect all those who live and work in our state prisons, and the community at-large.
In April, CDCR expedited the release of almost 3,500 incarcerated persons serving a sentence for non-violent offenses, who do not have to register as a sex offender, and who had 60 days or less to serve;
In July 2020, CDCR announced an additional series of release actions in an effort to further decompress the population to maximize space for physical distancing, and isolation/quarantine efforts. The expedited releases of eligible individuals with 180 days or less remaining on their sentences began on a rolling basis in July. These releases allowed CDCR to create space within our institutions, an effort that was vital to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. These releases, combined with extensive efforts focused on physical distancing, masking, and vaccination, resulted in the continued decline of COVID-19 cases in our institutions.
The last list of potentially eligible people was created on July 29, 2021. Release Program Studies and law enforcement notifications of people actually scheduled for expedited release will be provided as required by law through CDCR’s normal processes. Some individuals may not be immediately eligible for release (as matters such as COVID-19 tests or Offender with a Mental Health Disorder screenings may delay release). While these individuals will still be processed for release once cleared, no more eligibility lists will be created. Only people who appear on the final list will be eligible for expedited release.
Additionally, CDCR issued 12 weeks of credit to incarcerated people who had no rules violations between March 1, 2020 and July 5, 2020, excluding those serving life without the possibility of parole or who are condemned.
The court appointed federal Receiver, who oversees health care in the state’s prisons, identified additional incarcerated people as being medically high-risk for COVID-19. These individuals were not part of the rolling releases, and the number referred only to the number of people who were eligible for consideration. It does not equate to or represent a blanket release. These medically high-risk individuals are evaluated for potential expedited release on a case-by-case basis, based upon public safety and public health considerations.
We take these decisions very seriously and continue to work with our law enforcement, public health, and community-based partners to address their concerns and work through this public health emergency together.