On November 4, more than 2,200 eligible New Jersey prisoners were released prior to the end of their sentences in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A new law passed in September allows for early release of inmates who were within one year of completing their sentence, due to public-health concerns. The COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as one such crisis. An additional 1,100-plus people will be released between now and March 4, 2021, CNN reports. According to Patch, after the mass release on November 4, the state’s prison population was projected to fall by 13%.
Those who are serving sentences for violent crimes, such as murder or aggravated sexual assault, will not be eligible for early release. Additionally, repeated sex offenders will remained incarcerated.
One point worth noting is that certain immigrant inmates are not actually getting to go home and are being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers instead.
A spokesperson for ICE in Newark released a statement to Patch on those apprehended, saying, “All are violent offenders or have convictions for serious crimes such as homicide, aggravated assault, drug trafficking and child sexual exploitation.” Some inmates are being detained in New Jersey, while others have already been moved to out-of-state ICE quarters.