A cost of releasing prisoners: “Florida inmate freed amid coronavirus concerns murdered man one day after release,” second degree murder with a firearm and resisting an officer.

Apr 15, 2020 | Featured

From CBS Channel 17 in Tampa, Florida:

An inmate who was released from a Florida jail in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus is back behind bars and accused of committing second-degree murder the day after he got out, deputies say.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirms 26-year-old Joseph Edwards Williams was arrested on a warrant Monday night in Gibsonton.

They say he is connected to a March 20 shooting homicide in the Progress Village area. Deputies responded at 10:40 that night to several 911 calls about gunshots fired near 81st Street South and Ash Avenue. A man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Online jail records show Williams had been released from custody at 8:02 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 per an administrative order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the county jails. The sheriff’s office says he was one of more than 100 inmates released from custody until trial.

“There is no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “As a result, I call on the State Attorney to prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”

The HCSO released 164 inmates considered low level and non-violent offenders. . . .

Some are arguing that releasing inmates from jail and prison has no impact on crime rates. It is going to be a little hard to measure the net impact on crime rates from releasing prisoners, especially since the unusual conditions seem to be reducing crime, but releasing prisoners will raise the crime rate above what it otherwise would have been.