New Jersey lawmakers are expected to approve a bill that would release up to 20 percent of the state’s prison population in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.

Around 3,000 prisoners could be released from New Jersey’s penitentiaries if they are within the last year of their sentence, according to The Times.

Prisoners meeting this qualification could be released eight months before the end of their sentence, The Times reported.

“We are not doing very well at all in terms of protecting people,” Republican New Jersey state Senator Gerald Cardinale told The Times. “They’re prisoners, but they are human beings.”

New Jersey prisons have seen 29 COVID-19 deaths per 10,000 incarcerated people — the highest total in the nation, according to The Marshall Project.

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