California state prison officials said they are looking into giving early release for as many as 17,600 inmates due to the coronavirus.
This is according to an Associated Press (AP) report.
Moreover, this is 70% more than previously estimated.
The report added that police say this includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up.
The earlier releases also are causing consternation.
Because this means probation officers and community organizations will scramble to provide for the released inmate who may pose a public health risk.
Among the services they provide are housing and transportation.
Officials have been under intense pressure to free more inmates.
In July, lawmakers asked Governor Gavin Newsom to stop transferring people from prison to ICE detention.
They claimed this is one of the major contributors to the continued spread of the virus inside immigration detention.
They said people who have finished their prison term and transferred to ICE custody for possible deportation.
The report of releasing inmates has caused many to object.
The AP report said Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz is likely to block some of the earlier releases.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig and the advocacy group Crime Victims Alliance complained about the release.
He claimed that victims and prosecutors are given little notice and no opportunity to object to the releases.
The report added, that the virus is spread by coughs and sneezes and can quickly sweep through a prison setting.
Moreover, to date, 51 inmates have died.
Meanwhile, there have been more than 8,400 cases among prisoners.
Infections reached nearly 2,000 state prison system employees, and eight have died, said the report.
The latest, Sgt. Seeyengkee Ly, who worked at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, died on August 2nd.
The cause of death is pneumonia complications after contracting COVID-19.