March 23, 2020 / 5:50 PM / 13 days ago

CORRECTED-New Jersey to release county jail inmates over coronavirus

(Corrects headline as similar moves have been taken in other locations in United States, removes governor’s quote)

March 23 (Reuters) - New Jersey plans to release “low-risk” inmates serving county jail sentences to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the governor said on Monday.

The announcement follows an order late Sunday night signed by Stuart Rabner, chief justice of the state’s supreme court, to suspend or commute sentences being served by inmates as a condition of probation or a municipal court conviction.

The move is being made to protect the health of inmates and limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease, state attorney general Gurbir Singh Grewal said.

“Jails can be incubators for disease so we have to take bold and drastic steps,” Grewal said.

People released will be subject to the state’s stay-at-home order and will serve their sentence once the health crisis is over, Grewal said. (Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; editing by Grant McCool)

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