OC to see another 176 prison inmates released early under state's COVID-19 plan

An additional 176 prison inmates are expected to be set free soon in Orange County under the state's early-release program prompted by the coronavirus crisis.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- An additional 176 prison inmates are expected to be set free soon in Orange County under the state's early-release program prompted by the coronavirus crisis, county officials said Thursday.

Since early in the pandemic, the state prison system has been releasing inmates early to reduce overcrowding and try to stop the spread of the virus within the facilities.

The state has already released about 10,000 inmates, with a focus on those with shorter times left to serve and those who aren't registered as sex offenders.

Under a new plan released earlier this month, another 8,000 statewide are eligible for early release by the end of August.

RELATED: Up to 8,000 inmates to be released early to slow spread of COVID-19

Orange County's chief probation officer Steve Sentman said the latest state plan means another 176 inmates will be released in OC by the end of August.

Those inmates primarily fall under the category of those with 180 days or less left on their sentences, who were not convicted of domestic violence and are not required to register as sex offenders and are not considered a threat for violence. Also eligible are inmates who are at high risk for medical reasons or have participated in positive programming.

There are other categories of releases for inmates with 365 days or less left to serve who may also be released, but the county has not received that list yet, he said.

"I would like to express my grave concern about criminals being released onto our streets," said Michelle Steel, chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

"I'm asking the state to please rescind this decision," she added.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.