Cuyahoga County Court in Ohio is taking the extraordinary measure of releasing hundreds of inmates out of jail due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Administrative Judge Brendan Sheehan tells the I TEAM the court will hold a special session for hearings on Saturday aimed at reducing the number of inmates in the County Jail.
When we asked Judge Sheehan how many prisoners could be released? He responded, “Gosh. We’re hoping hundreds.”
Sheehan says many inmates are already in poor health, and it wouldn’t take much for the coronavirus to spread wildly behind bars.
So Cuyahoga County judges will hold hearings Saturday and most of next week to work out guilty pleas and take other steps to get prisoners out of jail.
Judge Sheehan says almost any kind of inmate could be considered. Almost.
He said, “You gotta remember, the goal of this is to protect the community and the safety of the inmates. If someone’s a serious violent person, well, we’re using our discretion to make sure the community’s safe also.”
To be clear, the county won’t just unlock the jail doors and say, ‘OK, you’re free to go.’ Inmates could plead guilty and get released. Or, get placed on house arrest. Or, maybe even strike a plea deal and get sent away to prison to start serving time.
Los Angeles is reducing arrests from an average of 300 a day to around 60 because of the coronavirus outbreak. And this is somehow supposed to make us all safer?
Cuyahoga County Jail works to release 300 defendants to reduce coronavirus risk https://t.co/V1JV06UNEy
— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) March 14, 2020