Inmates with a release date or tentative parole date within 180 days are to be considered by the Parole Board for early release, according to news coverage of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
No action by the inmate will apparently be required for consideration. There are about 200 inmates who will qualify for possible release within the next 30 days. This action is being taken to reduce prison populations to allow the Department of Corrections more flexibility in handling and responding to issues created by the coronavirus. Many of those will still be subject to supervision by the Department of Community Supervision.
The close confines and high populations of some Georgia prisons may make them strong breeding grounds for virus transmission among prisoners and staff. Some inmates have already been hospitalized with symptoms of the virus, and one inmate died from virus complications at Lee State Prison.
There are calls to clear transitional centers early as well. Such prisoners are nearing the ends of their sentences and have already been evaluated as not posing a high risk to the public.
Local sheriffs have significant discretion as well to allow the release of prisoners on misdemeanor sentences and detainees. Jails pose the same risks of virus spread posed by prisons.
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