|Thousands of California prisoners are to be released due to COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreaks.|
California will release more than 8,000 prisoners to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in its overcrowded prisons, according to authorities in that U.S. state, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Prisoners could be eligible for early release in early August, joining 10,000 prisoners already released on similar initiatives since the virus crisis began, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.
These actions are taken to provide health and safety to the prison population and staff, department secretary Ralph Diaz said in a statement Friday.
The announcement, which has been well received by prison reform advocates, comes on the heels of an increase in COVID-19 cases in San Quentin, one of California's oldest prisons.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday the outbreak was "an area of great concern" after more than 1,000 inmates tested positive.
The San Quentin facility this week had half of the active coronavirus cases found in prisons across the state, with a prison population of about 113,000.
Friday's statement indicated that the released prisoners, which include those at San Quentin, would be tested for COVID-19 during the week following their release.
California, the most populous state in the United States with nearly 40 million people, has confirmed more than 300,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 6,800 deaths from the disease.