COVID-19 LAWSUIT: State agrees to release 3,500 prison inmates

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 3:47 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The state has agreed to release at least 3,500 inmates over the next six months after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit on Thursday.

The NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, and others sued the state prison system back in April over COVID-19 conditions.

The releases will be in addition to regular releases as people finish their prison sentences.

The Department of Public Safety implemented an “Extended Limits of Confinement” program, and to date around 1,000 prisoners have left prison early under a type of supervised probation.

When the lawsuit was filed in April, the state prison population was over 34,000. Now it stands at 28,659 prisoners.

So far, 47 inmates in state prisons have died from the virus, and nearly 10,000 prisoners have tested positive.

If the settlement is approved, the state will have three months to release 1,500 inmates and three more months to release an additional 2,000.

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