Secretary of N.C. Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks said Monday in a press conference that they will begin releasing some inmates in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The department has been reviewing all options to protect public safety, as well as our employees and those in the state’s custody,” Hooks said. Many of those options were implemented quickly, providing immediate impact, while others have required more preparation.”
More than 35 inmates and 20 prison staff members have tested positive for the Coronavirus.
DPS says they are reviewing 500 inmates who meet specific requirements for early release to slow the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons and juvenile facilities, Hooks said.
No one convicted of a violent crime against a person will be considered for early release.
The qualifications for early release are as followed:
- Offenders and older with underlying health conditions
- Offenders 65 and older with a release date in 2020
- Female offenders 50 and older with health conditions and a release date in 2020
- Pregnant offenders
- Offenders already on home leave with a release date in 2020
- Offenders on work release with a release date in 2020
DPS has taken other steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities, including suspending visitations and work-release programs, requiring medical screening for inmates and staff, and providing extra soap and disinfectant.
I started a petition a few weeks ago asking the Governor to release all non-violent offenders and those who have less than 30 days remaining on their sentence. It looks like we are making some type of progress.