A study of local jails across America shows jail populations have been reduced at a shocking rate.
The Prison Policy Initiative — a nonprofit group that aims to “expose the broader harm of mass criminalization” — released its findings May 14, detailing how much jail populations have shrunk since the start of the pandemic.
Since January and February, inmate numbers at some jails have been reduced by more than 50 percent.
The study reveals that counties in Oregon, Arkansas, New Jersey, Washington state, Iowa and Kentucky have cut their inmate populations by more than half in the last few months.
The jail reductions are an apparent attempt to avoid embarrassing outbreaks of the coronavirus in lockup facilities.
The virus thrives in packed close quarters, making places like jails and nursing homes especially vulnerable.
“The typical jail has reduced its population by more than 30%,” according to the initiative. (The median jail reduction is 31 percent).
Not all of this jaw-dropping number is due to releases, either.
The initiative noted that a number of factors contribute to diminishing jail populations: “In some counties, police are issuing citations in lieu of arrests, prosecutors are declining to charge people for ‘low-level offenses,’ courts are reducing the amounts of cash bail, and jail administrators are releasing people detained pretrial or those serving short sentences for ‘nonviolent offenses.'”
While a few counties have increased jail populations during the pandemic, the overwhelming trend appears to be a steady downward slide.
Those being held at county lockups might have hit the jackpot with the spread of COVID-19, but inmates in state prisons aren’t so lucky.
Despite jails depopulating at an staggering rate, prisons have maintained comparatively steady populations. With the exception of a few states, most have only cut inmate populations by single-digit percentages.
Some places, meanwhile, are taking the initiative to permanently reduce the amount of prisoners by simply closing facilities.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for example, wants to shutter two prisons amid a budget crisis.
It’s unclear how many criminals will end up in communities if his plan is successfully implemented.
Some unlucky residents of the Golden State are already feeling the pain from inmate releases.
One family is now recovering after a man freed from jail allegedly assaulted an 11-year-old child during a carjacking.
For federal prisoners, cheerleaders in Washington, D.C., are hard at work fighting to secure their freedom.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even invoked the Gospel of Matthew in an appeal for many of these inmates to be released.
This shocking stance is made even more insulting as law-abiding Americans are being arrested for violating unconstitutional lockdown orders.
Hopefully this style of criminal justice “reform” will soon fade away, and be looked on with shame in the history books.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.