Minnesota Department of Corrections to release some inmates early in response to pandemic

Starting Friday, the Minnesota Department of Corrections will start releasing some prisoners in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to the department, between Friday and the end of next week authorities will release about 30 or 40 inmates. All of those inmates were already within 90 days of their release date and were convicted of non-violent crimes, like drug possession or forgery. Like under normal conditions, they will be released with supervision

“There’s a misconception by many people that we’re going to throw the doors to the prison open and let people out and that simply isn’t the case,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell. “We want to be smart about how we do this.”

The commissioner says they may also release some inmates with serious medical conditions, who don’t pose a threat to the public. They will slowly start releasing more inmates who meet these criteria month by month with the goal of creating more space in prisons to keep people separated and slow the spread of the virus.