virus hundreds NC prisoners go home

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina prison officials say nearly 200 inmates have been allowed to serve the rest of their sentences outside of prison to discourage the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Public Safety released figures on Thursday showing how it is carrying out an initiative announced last month to allow those at higher risk for the virus and others to finish their punishments in local communities.

Hundreds of additional prisoners also have been able to leave when they met their minimum sentence release dates thanks to another policy change.

The overall prison population has declined 5% since the outbreak began in mid-March. 

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