L.A. County releases 1,700 inmates to lessen jail population due to COVID-19 crisis

Los Angeles County has released about 1,700 inmates to lessen the inmate population during the COVID-19 crisis, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday.  

With these releases, the county's jail population was lowered by about 10%, according to Villanueva.  

RELATED: LA County Sheriff orders gun stores to close; adds 1,300 deputies to patrol

The update comes after the first California State Prison inmate tested positive for the coronavirus in Lancaster on Sunday.

He has been in isolation since March 19, when he reported not feeling well. He was tested the following day and results were received Sunday.

After an exclusive interview with FOX 11 reporter Bill Melugin on Monday, Villanueva said earlier today on Twitter: "We’ve donated masks, released inmates w/ under 30 days sentences for non-violent offenses (to reduce jail risk) & beefed up patrol by 1300 deputies. Those thinking that we’re not going to be hard on crooks are mistaken, there’s twice the deputies on the street!"

"LASD personnel have impeccably handled the response. I have NOT asked 4 National Guard & would only if local law were hampered by manpower shortages. From now on, I will handle emergency messaging for @CountyofLA to ensure residents are properly prepared, not scared," Villanueva posted.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.