SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is calling for the immediate release of pre-trial jail inmates who are at heightened risk of contracting coronavirus.
In a statement, Public Defender Mano Raju said his office would begin filing motions to seek the release of all clients in San Francisco county jails at heightened risk, such as people over 60, those with heart or lung disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV, or autoimmune diseases.
“We are taking this action to protect older adults and those with compromised immune systems who are extremely vulnerable right now. People who are incarcerated in jail are already exposed to an unsafe environment,” said Raju. “The cramped and unsanitary conditions in jail put the older or immunocompromised population at a much greater risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus.”
Raju said his office would work with the district attorney, sheriff, and courts to identify safe alternatives to pre-trial detention for those identified individuals
Raju also said he asked the Sheriff Paul Miyamoto review all jail inmates with less than 6 months left to serve to determine who may be eligible for immediate release on electronic monitoring or work release programs.
“These are cases where the court has already decided that it’s safe to release someone into the community, and will be doing so in the very near future,” said Raju. “This will help reduce the population on the inside, allowing for recommended distance between individuals during this public health crisis.”