SEATTLE (AP) – A divided Washington Supreme Court has denied a request to release thousands of inmates from the state’s prisons due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier Thursday the justices heard oral arguments in their separate chambers using Zoom technology to facilitate social distancing.

The justices, in a 5-4 decision, said that the prisoners who had sued failed to show that the Department of Corrections was not properly addressing the risk of COVID-19.

Earlier a lawyer representing the inmates had told the court that people who are incarcerated don’t have the ability to keep themselves safe.

A lawyer for the state said some inmates had already been released and face masks have been given out.

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