More than 2,000 inmates in New Jersey were released Wednesday in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in the state’s prison system — almost a month after the state passed one of the first bills in the U.S. to reduce sentences because of the pandemic, NBC News reported.
Liz Velez, a New Jersey Department of Corrections spokesperson, told NBC News in an email that 2,261 adults nearing the end of their prison sentences were released early Wednesday amid rising coronavirus cases in some state prisons.
As of Wednesday morning, the department recorded at least 51 inmate deaths and 4,111 cases, including employees and inmates, since the beginning of April, according to department Covid-19 data.
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According to the Marshall Project, which is tracking state and federal prison Covid-19 data, the numbers represent one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the nation.