US jails begin releasing prisoners to stem Covid-19 infections


US jails are to let out inmates as cases of coronavirus infections are being reported in prisons. New York City is releasing “vulnerable” prisoners, the mayor said on Wednesday, days after Los Angeles and Cleveland freed hundreds of inmates. Prison reform advocates say those in jail are at higher risk of catching and passing on Covid-19.

There have been more than 9,400 cases of Covid-19 and 152 deaths in the US so far, according to estimates. Globally there are some 220,000 confirmed cases and over 8,800 deaths.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that city officials will this week identify individuals for release, including people who were arrested for minor crimes and those most vulnerable to infection due to underlying health problems. His announcement came hours after a guard and a prisoner tested positive for coronavirus at Rikers Island prison, where disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, 68, is a high-profile inmate. Weinstein will be moved to a different state prison, an official said on Wednesday.(BBC)…[+]