Los Angeles County justice partners have collaborated to safely cut the county jails population by 3,500 to reduce the risk of mass exposure of COVID-19, county Public Defender Ricardo D. García said Tuesday.
The releases take public safety into consideration as a priority.
“We all know too well this is a matter of life and death,” Garcia said during the Los Angeles County daily press briefing.
“As we think of the extraordinary precautions we are all taking, physical distancing, wearing masks, and constantly washing our hands, and remaining at home, we must remember that right now thousands of people are trapped in close quarters with no ability to take these basic precautions in order to protect themselves. Our mothers, fathers, grandparents and children in custody are as afraid of COVID-19 as any of us,” Garcia said.
Many of 3,500 individuals were pretrial and presumed innocent, Garcia said, adding that he is working with justice partners to continue to reduce the number of people in jails to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Other justice matters discussed:
* The Public Defender is working with justice partners to seek opportunities to decrease numbers in the camps and the halls that would allow for social distancing and allow youth eligible for release the ability to receive services safely in their homes and communities.
* The Public Defender’s Immigration Unit is working with communities throughout Los Angeles County to protect the rights of justice-involved individuals regardless of their legal status. P.D.’s Immigration Unit can be reached at 213-974-0572 or toll-free at 833-974-3003.