Certain prisoners deemed low-risk could be moved to temporary home confinement or freed on parole because of the spread of COVID-19 under an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
State correctional institutions are seeing COVID-19 spread within their walls, the governor said, leading him to sign the order.
People convicted of what Murphy called serious crimes like murder or rape would not be eligible for home confinement or parole.
New Jersey's death toll from COVID-19 climbed by 233 people to about 2,000 on Friday, Murphy said.
While the number of positive cases and fatalities continue to climb, Murphy said, “good early signs” were beginning to emerge.
The rate at which the number of positive cases doubles in hard-hit Bergen County had lengthened to about seven days, up from about three days.
The number of positive cases in the state reached about 55,000, up 3,600 over the previous 24 hours, Murphy said.
About 7,500 people were hospitalized because of the virus, the governor said. That's up from roughly 7,000 the previous 24 hours. More than 1,600 people were in critical condition, with another 1,600 on ventilators. Each category was up from 1,500 on Thursday.
Nearly 700 people have been discharged, up from about 500 the previous day.