Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minn. legislators move forward bill to release some nonviolent offenders during coronavirus pandemic


Inmates enrolled in the Challenge Incarceration Program stand in line at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee, a women's prison, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Sarah Mearhoff / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL -- As lawmakers face increasing pressure to take action to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Minnesota correctional facilities, state legislators have moved forward a bill overhauling public safety practices for the duration of the pandemic.

The Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee on Thursday, April 30, passed by a 10-7 vote a bill that would release some nonviolent inmates from custody early, limit prison occupancy to one inmate per cell, provide free phone and video calls to inmates unable to have in-person visits and more as coronavirus spreads throughout Minnesota. Proponents of the bill say reducing inmate populations and concentrations within facilities will help inmates and staff social distance and prevent catching and spreading the virus.


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