A Florida law enforcement agency is releasing hundreds of what they are calling “low level” inmates in response to the growing coronavirus crisis across the state.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced that 164 offenders will be released from two jails in the county in an effort to protect deputies and other inmates from a potential spread.
“They will still answer for the crimes they committed,” Chronister told NBC affiliate WFLA-TV.
Chronister said the agency has taken steps to stop any potential spread, including closing certain areas of the jails while bringing in professionals to disinfect the facilities.
“We’re being extremely proactive to make sure we’re keeping those people we are responsible for safe,” he said, adding that a large amount of masks and gowns and gloves have been ordered.
Officials say that new inmates will be screened for travel history and anyone with flu-like symptoms will be flagged.