New Jersey releases up to 1,000 low-level offenders from county jails to keep them free of infection

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New Jersey released hundreds of low-level offenders from county jails on Tuesday to keep them from getting infected with the coronavirus.

Up to 1,000 inmates were released. Officials say that they were in jail for non-violent crimes and that they all had minimal time left on their sentences.

Inmates at the Monmouth County Jail were given a bus ticket. But before they were released, they had to confirm that they had a place to live and that they did not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Former inmate Scott McGregor told News 12 New Jersey that he was not concerned about possibly getting sick while out in public.

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“I don’t hang around with people anyway,” he said.

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden says that seven more inmates are scheduled to be released on Wednesday. But he says that 20 others that were up for release under the original order are being blocked by Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, a move that Golden says he agrees with.

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“I think it’s absurd that you have individuals on the list that had resisting arrest and assault on police or child endangerment or failure to register as a sex offender [charges.] How those are on the list, I don’t know,” Golden says.

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Gramiccioni will argue before a judge on Thursday the need to keep those inmates in jail.

There are no cases of COVID-19 in the Monmouth County Jail. All new inmates are quarantined for 14 days before they are put into the general population.

“We are practicing social distancing there. They are segregated in areas,” Golden says.

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Those released, were in for offenses like shoplifting, missing court dates or disorderly conduct. News 12 is told one person declined release because he had no place to live.

Some of those released will have to return to finish their suspended sentence.

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