There are currently 1,200 people in quarantine at the Fresno County Jail after 13 inmates who were transferred from jail to Wasco State Prison tested positive for COVID-19.
Last week, the majority of the state Judicial Council voted to remove the $ 0 state bond policy last week, and the program ended on Saturday, June 20.
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The goal behind the policy is that by releasing lower-level offenders, the risk of coronavirus spread would be reduced as prison populations would be minimized.
The zero dollar bond policy has been controversial. County sheriffs said they saw some of the suspects they released, accused of committing another crime, sometimes within hours of their release.
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This time, Fresno County will make some changes to the policy. Among them, suspects will not be eligible to be released if they are charged with car theft, child abuse, elder abuse, or assault with a deadly weapon that could cause serious injury.
Lawyers representing some of the 1,200 inmates housed in the North Jail are now taking even more precautions about the concerns after a new COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine.
“It is terrifying to know that all of our worst fears have been confirmed: that he is in jail, which means he is probably in court,” said the president of the Union of Public Defenders, DJ Brickey.
As a precautionary measure, inmates housed in the North Prison are not allowed to leave their herd.
Quarantined inmates are no longer brought to court. As a result, their cases are being postponed.
The outbreak is causing a ripple effect as inmates can no longer move or reserve in the North Jail.
So just as the controversial statewide zero dollar bond order expired, a local order went into effect, creating an ongoing juggling act for jail officials.
“We now have a limited number of spaces for those who leave the streets to go to. With the North Jail off limits, we’re going to take advantage of this zero-dollar bond and basically free them up in the reserve or we’ll try to find a new one place if they are dangerous, “said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
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