Two more convicted inmates at Erie County jails were released following a hearing Tuesday, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced Wednesday.
That brings the total to 21 convicted offenders who have been released with fewer than 45 days remaining on their sentences. It's an effort to shrink the population at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo and the Correctional Facility in Alden to try to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The freed defendants "were convicted of low-level, non-violent offenses," Flynn's office said in a statement.
"While the number of people in our jails has been significantly reduced under bail reform, I understand the potential for Covid-19 to spread quickly among inmates and correctional facility employees," Flynn said in the statement. "In the interest of justice and public health, I consented to the release of these individuals to serve the remainder of their sentence at home.”
In addition, Flynn said his office has consented to the release of 25 inmates being held pre-trial and to lowering bail for another 25 pre-trial inmates. He turned down 51 bail motions.
No inmates have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Erie County Sheriff's Office, but defense attorneys say there's been little to no testing of the inmates so there's no way to know for sure. Other facilities, including the Federal Detention Center in Batavia, have reported outbreaks among detainees.