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San Francisco Releasing 26 Jail Inmates To Help Stem Coronavirus Spread

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- More than two dozen inmates are being released from San Francisco county jails as part of the coronavirus public health emergency, the San Francisco Sheriff's Office said Friday.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said a Superior Court order provided for the release of 26 sentenced prisoners with less than 60 days left to serve.

The court issued the order to reduce the county jail population and minimize prisoner and staff exposure to the coronavirus, spokeswoman Nancy Crowley said.

Currently there are no known cases of coronavirus in San Francisco County jails. The sheriff's office said the release of the 26 inmates allow for the expansion of social distancing protocols put into place across the three county jails.

The sheriff's office said it has worked with the courts and community organizations to identify housing and behavioral health programs for about 13 inmates who didn't have a place to go after their release. The rest of the inmates have identified existing housing situations, the sheriff's office said.

Word of the inmate release comes a day after Alameda County authorities announced that 314 inmates at its Santa Rita Jail facility had been approved for early release over the current coronavirus crisis.

Sheriff Gregory Ahern said his office will continue to release inmates when it's feasible while still protecting the public's safety. He said the inmates who've been released were relatively low-level offenders.

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