Coronavirus: St. Louis considers releasing inmates to stop spread

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ST. LOUIS — Dozens of inmates may soon be released from jail as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside correctional centers in St. Louis.

The City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office and St. Louis City Public Defender’s Office has come up with a list of 56 people who could be released “in an attempt to mitigate the very real health crisis present in our jails during this time of national crisis,” the offices said in a joint news release.

All of the 56 people identified either are in jail accused of low-level offenses or have significant health issues.

The circuit attorney’s office and the public defender’s office gave their list to the courts to consider for immediate pre-trial release.

“This release is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the community inside of jails, to court personnel, and to the greater community,” the offices said. “With the assistance of the court, the release of these non-violent individuals provides a benefit for the city, which no longer has to bear the cost of housing them, and for the defendants and their families by mitigating their potential exposure to the coronavirus.”

St. Charles County already made a similar move to reduce the jail population amid the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the judges, public defenders and prosecutors in St. Charles County worked together to identify their own list of 56 inmates who have already been allowed to leave the jail.

READ MORE: St. Charles County courts reduce jail population fearing coronavirus outbreak

And in St. Louis County, officials told 5 On Your Side they are working with the courts to release about 100 inmates. No further information has been confirmed.

Below is the full joint statement from the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office and St. Louis City Public Defender’s Office:

“The harsh health realities of COVID-19 demand unique collaboration from all persons, groups, and organizations within the criminal justice community in order to ensure justice is pursued in a humane and consistent manner.

“In an attempt to mitigate the very real health crisis present in our jails during this time of national crisis, the circuit attorney’s office and the public defender’s office identified together 56 individuals with low-level offenses or significant health issues for the court to consider for immediate pre-trial release.

“This release is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the community inside of jails, to court personnel, and to the greater community. With the assistance of the court, the release of these non-violent individuals provides a benefit for the city, which no longer has to bear the cost of housing them, and for the defendants and their families by mitigating their potential exposure to the Coronavirus.

“We will continue to work together to balance public safety and the critical health issues posed by this deadly virus.”

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Editor is St Louis Media, LLC (STLM). STLM is a web hosting, design, SEO, press release distribution company and news agency located in St. Louis, Missouri. We own and operate multiple news sites in the region. Our objective with STLNewsMissouri.com is to offer readers a one-stop news site for Missouri news. We aggregate news from news media across the state. We do not aggregate news from all sources. We pick from those that offer RSS feeds and pick the best with eliminating those that might produce the same news stories, written differently.
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