Corrections officials: Nearly 1,600 inmates released due to COVID-19

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Corrections says it's released nearly 1,600 inmates since March to help reduce the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.

Corrections spokeswoman Anna Neal said most of the inmates released since March 2 had been detained because they violated their probation, parole or extended supervision terms.

The State Journal reported the inmates were released from either a county jail or DOC’s Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. The DOC houses more than 22,000 adult prisoners.

Twenty prisoners across four DOC facilities have tested positive for the new coronavirus as of Thursday, corrections officials said. And, 24 corrections employees have self-reported testing positive.

Timothy Muth, American Civil Liberties Union attorney, called the releases “inconsequential” because they’re focused on DOC inmates in county jails and the Milwaukee detention facility and not prisons.