In order to limit the spread of a COVID19 outbreak in the Ventura County jail system, Sheriff Bill Ayub is ordering the release of 76 low-level offenders who have less than 60 days remaining on their sentences.

A recent outbreak in the jails has resulted in 45 inmates and three staff members testing positive for COVID19. The total jail population in Ventura County was 1,349. The 76 inmates being released are serving time for non-violent, non-sexual, and non-gun-related crimes. Most are thieves and narcotics offenders. 

“This will make space available to more effectively manage the inmate population and prevent the further spread of COVID19,” Sheriff Ayub said. “This isn’t a decision I take lightly, but we have to take reasonable measures during these extraordinary times to prioritize the safety of our residents both in and out of jail.”

The release of inmates began Tuesday afternoon. A small number of the inmates have qualified for electronic monitoring and have been placed in that program.