DUBLIN (CBS SF) — The presiding judge of the Alameda County Superior Court ordered the release of 56 additional people from Santa Rita Jail on Monday to slow the spread of coronavirus within the facility.
Judge Tara M. Desautels issued three general orders, one of which released 15 people who had 90 days or fewer left to serve on their felony sentences.
The other two orders released 20 and 21 people, respectively, after officials found good cause to release them, the court said in a press release Monday. All of these people were released because their bail was reduced to $0 after an emergency ruling by the Judicial Council of California on April 6.
As of Friday, there were 15 positive cases of COVID-19 at Santa Rita.
#PressRelease – Superior Court of Alameda County orders the release of 56 additional persons from the Santa Rita Jail.
— AlamedaSuperiorCourt (@AlamedaSuperior) April 14, 2020
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Alameda County Superior Court has ordered 334 total people to be directly released from Santa Rita since the coronavirus pandemic began. As of Sunday, the population of the jail decreased to 1,925, significantly reduced from the 2,597 that populated the jail on March 1.
The jail’s total population has reduced by about 28% after Monday’s release of 56 people, according to the court. The court anticipates issuing additional orders to release more people from Santa Rita later in the week.
A county judge also last week ordered the release of Derick Almena, the master tenant in 2016’s deadly Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in Oakland, from the jail due to concerns over the coronavirus. Almena will be electronically monitored while released.
Almena, 49, is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse in the 1300 block of 31st Avenue in Oakland’s Fruitvale district on the night of Dec. 2, 2016, that killed 36 people.