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Erie County releases 17 inmates early due to COVID-19 concerns

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Posted at 8:59 AM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 09:21:00-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — More than a dozen inmates with 45 days or less left on their sentences will be released from Erie County jails in an effort to limit the size of the inmate population during the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced Tuesday morning.

A motion filed by the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo requested that inmates who have 45 days or less remaining on their sentence at the Erie County Holding Center or the Erie County Correctional Facility be released from custody. The order was granted by Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan on Monday afternoon.

In total, 17 inmates who were convicted of "low-level, non-violent" offenses will be released.

“The only way to combat this virus is by distancing ourselves from one another. While the number of people in our jails has been significantly reduced under bail reform, I understand the potential for COVID-19 to spread quickly among inmates and correctional facility employees. In the interest of justice and public health, I believe it is best for these defendants to serve the remainder of their sentence at home,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.