John Mele is one of roughly 700 inmates who were released from county jails in New Jersey to address the growing novel coronavirus pandemic. But when he was handed two bus tickets and freed, he said he was frightened, not relieved.
“I was scared to leave,” Mele told CNN. “There ain’t too much sh** that I’m scared of. I’m scared of heights and I’m scared of going to something I don’t know about.”
He said he was given five minutes notice last Thursday after he was told he was leaving the jail three months earlier than his sentence for breaking into a fishing store. He had no place to go and no assurances that he was healthy.
“No temperature check. Nothing. They gave me two bus tickets,” Mele said. He was steered toward a homeless shelter, but said he refused, concerned the virus would be spreading inside the cramped housing complex.