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Pima County Jail inmates being considered for release due to the coronavirus

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PIMA COUNTY - The words "releasing inmates" may sound frightening to some people.

Even though nothing is set in stone right now, meetings are taking place to release Pima County Jail inmates back into the community.

The goal is to limit the number of people inside the Pima County Jail and to keep the population and correctional officers safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This protocol is also taking place in other states like New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Pima County Attorney's Office met with the Attorney General and presiding judge to discuss releasing inmates who are non-violent offenders who have been charged but have not gone to trial yet.

Some examples of non-violent offenses include possession of drugs and shop-lifting.

There is a list of inmates eligible for potential release in the process of being created.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier told News 4 Tucson, he would never release inmates who would pose a threat to the community.

"The persons who have been incarcerated for weeks and have not become infected are at very low risk as incarceration serves, in this case, as a method of isolation," said Napier.

Napier continued: "That being said, we need to maximize space in the jail so that areas could be set aside if/when the segregation of infected persons from the larger jail population becomes necessary."

Another thing they have to consider is after they are released, what happens next?

Do they have a home to go to? Will they be homeless?

The attorney's office does not want to put anyone out on the street so they are trying to coordinate housing for those who do not have a home to go to.

Again, this is all to keep both law enforcement and inmates safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

The goal is to have the Pima County Jail inmates released by the end of the week.

Allie Potter

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