Inmates ask state Supreme Court to order releases during coronavirus outbreak

SEATTLE — A group of inmates in Washington prisons is asking the state Supreme Court to order the release of prisoners at high risk from the new coronavirus.

Columbia Legal Services, a nonprofit that advocates for social and economic justice, filed a petition on behalf of the inmates with the high court Tuesday.

The petition warns that an outbreak in the prisons would be devastating and says all inmates over 50, those with underlying medical conditions, and those who are due to be released within 18 months should be freed now to reduce the risk of a outbreak.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office says he is aware of the issue, takes it seriously and is talking with the Department of Corrections about it.