The Prison Conundrum: Keeping Inmates Jailed Or Letting Them Out, Risky Either Way

Texas A&M University experts say state prison officials are facing challenging decisions on whether to keep inmates in the system – risking more COVID-19 infections among inmates and workers – or let some out, which could increase community spread and, possibly, crime.

State officials said they’ve taken a few measures to limit the spread of the sometimes-deadly disease to communities that have inmate populations. On March 29, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring inmates convicted or accused of violent crimes from being released without posting bail. Almost two weeks later, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced it will no longer would accept new inmates into the 104 state-run prison units where almost 140,000 offenders are housed.

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