Plymouth County Jail Population Down 20 Percent Since Court Order

PLYMOUTH, MA —The number of inmates at the state's correctional facility in Plymouth County has dropped 19.9 percent to 640 from 811 on April 5, when a sweeping court order allowed the release of nonviolent offenders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The state said 53 inmates were released in Plymouth County due to the Supreme Judicial Court ruling.

Confirmed cases within the Plymouth County system remain low. According to state data, one inmate has tested positive for COVID-19, along with one corrections officer and five other staff members. The inmate tested positive on April 30.

The Plymouth County Correction Facility has conducted 35 tests since April 5 with 18 inmates tested, 10 officers tested and seven staff member tested.

Statewide, there have been 153 confirmed cases and inmates, 95 among correctional officers and 37 cases among staff members at the state's county jails since April 5, when a court-appointed overseer started compiling weekly reports on testing and confirmed cases for Department of Corrections facilities.

The ruling said people charged with most crimes should be released without bail "unless an unreasonable danger to the community would result, or the individual presents a very high risk of flight." The ruling lets people currently serving sentences of 60 days or fewer to file motions to have their sentences revised or revoked.

Across Massachusetts, 811 prisoners have been released from county jails under the order, including 58 in Essex County. The court order also said most inmates should be released on personal recognizance while awaiting trial, which factors into the 19.9 percent drop in Plymouth County.

The ruling also ordered the Department of Corrections and parole board to speed up the process for paroling prisoners "and to identify other classes of inmates who might be able to be released by agreement of the parties, as well as expediting petitions for compassionate release."

Patch Editor Dave Copeland contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Hingham Patch