Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates
North Carolina civil rights groups reached a deal with prison officials to offer an early release of at least 3,500 people in state custody. (Source: The Office of Governor Roy Cooper)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - North Carolina civil rights groups reached a deal with prison officials to offer an early release of at least 3,500 people in state custody.

The state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and American Civil Liberties Union argued that conditions at state prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional.

The state will have three months to release 1,500 inmates and three more months to release an additional 2,000.

Thursday afternoon, Wake County Superior Court Judge Vinston Rozier, Jr. granted the Joint Motion for Stay. That order is available on this page on the ACLU of North Carolina’s website.

At least 47 inmates have died of COVID-19.

State data shows nearly 10,000 prisoners have tested positive for the virus to date.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this report.