An upstate New York jail has released around 50 inmates to avoid further spread of the coronavirus. Included in the released inmates are eight registered sex offenders, according to the New York Post.
The inmates were released from Monroe County Jail on Saturday after the Department of Corrections and Community Services issued a statewide order.
Nine inmates—including four sex offenders—are currently residing at a Holiday Inn Express located in Greece, NY. Three of the sex offenders were registered as Level 3 after being convicted of raping minors, which means their risk of re-offence is high.
Patrick Phelan, a Greece Police Chief said, “It doesn’t make any sense. If you could present an argument to me that makes sense, I’m willing to listen. But this doesn’t make any sense.”
The department received an order to release “low-level technical parole violators” before moving the inmates to the hotel.
“So you have a violent criminal who’s done time in state prison who’s been given the chance of parole, and not followed the conditions of their parole. That’s who you’re talking about right now,” Phelan noted.
The chief criticized the decision and said he would have preferred to be notified of the move due to the possible threat posed to the community.
“We weren’t told by anyone. I think good practice would be if you’re going to release convicted felons,” Phelan said. “Some of them very violent, some of those level 3 sex offenders, you might want to give law enforcement the heads-up.”
When talking to the station, the department said it made its decision by releasing inmates based on a “review of the underlying technical violation, not the original crime.”
“This significant action is being taken in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in local jails over the past few days and weeks,” the Department of Corrections and Community Services said.
“Our top priority remains the public health and safety of New Yorkers during this global public health emergency and this measure will further protect a vulnerable population from contracting and transmitting this infectious disease.”