SEVEN “high-risk” sex offenders have been released from jail in California because of the coronavirus — and officials are warning local residents to remain alert.
Todd Spitzer, the district attorney in Orange County, said the seven people have been released from jail since April 7 because of rulings made by court commissioner Joseph Dane.
“These kinds of high-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend,” Spitzer said in a news release on Tuesday.
“They are doing everything they can to avoid detection by the parole officers assigned to monitor them so they can potentially commit additional sex offenses.”
Luis Joel Ramirez, 27, James Franklin Bowling, 50, Rudy William Grajeda Magdaleno, 39, and Calvin Curtis Coleman, 52, were among those released from prison despite being considered “high-risk” sex offenders.
Kyle Albert Winton, 40, Jose Adrian Oregel, 46, and Mario Ernesto Sandoval, 45, were also released from jail because of virus fears.
Spitzer said that these men have been released “months early despite being charged with cutting off their GPS monitors or otherwise tampering with the tracking devices to render them inoperable.”
Many of them spent “just days behind bars instead of the six months required by law for registered sex offenders who violate parole by removing or disabling GPS monitors,” he added.
“These are not the kind of people who should be getting a break,” Spitzer said.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes reported to the local supervisors on Tuesday that the county jail system’s population has been reduced by nearly 45 percent since March 7.
The sheriff said there are no overcrowding issues in the jail and said “proper steps, including social distancing, masks, and quarantining of new inmates, are in place.”
Spitzer said of the men’s’ release: “It is not the Court’s responsibility to control the jail population by releasing these dangerous criminals back into our communities.”
“The residents of Orange County deserve to have the peace of mind that registered sex offenders are being held accountable and not just let out the front door of a jail by a court commissioner who refuses to follow the law.”
Inmates across the US have been released from custody amid the coronavirus outbreak.
California state officials said in late March they were planning to release as many as 3,500 inmates who were supposed to be paroled in the next two months as they tried to free up space in cramped prisons.
The week prior to the announcement, Gov. Gavin Newsom stopped intakes from jails, which was projected to lower the prison population by thousands.
Advocates have said at least 10,000 inmates needed to be freed to create enough space in jails so that prisoners could maintain enough space to socially distance themselves.
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