Mar 25, 2020 - Health

New York to free 300 nonviolent Rikers Island inmates over coronavirus

 Mayor Bill de Blasio along with city officials hold a press conference
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference on the coronavirus. Photo: EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference Tuesday that he plans to release from Rikers Island some 300 nonviolent inmates who are over 70 years old as a measure against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: There's been an outbreak on Rikers and a New York City Department of Correction officer stationed there died last week — one of 13 deaths related to COVID-19 in the city, which has at least 14,000 cases. Those imprisoned for domestic violence or sexual assault offenses won't be freed. To meet release requirements, prisoners must have at least five pre-existing health conditions and less than a year to serve. "We want to identify anyone in those categories and get them released immediately," de Blasio said. 75 inmates have been released already.

Go deeper