About 200 inmates at the Hall County Jail have been released over the last week to lessen the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on sheriff’s office employees and inmates, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
The inmates that were released were nonviolent misdemeanor offenders and inmates over the age of 60 who don’t pose a risk to the community, a news release said. Some of the inmates were released as a result of routine bond or because they had served their time. The releases dropped the population at the jail to about 500. Sheriff's office officials got input from the court system in determining who was eligible to be released.
No one at the jail has been diagnosed with the virus.
“While the effort helps prevent the spread of the virus to jail and court personnel, it’s also out of concern for the health of inmates who must remain in custody,” the release said.
The jail is the focal point of the sheriff’s office coronavirus precautions because of the number of people housed in close quarters. Other jails across the nation have released nonviolent offenders to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Prior to the recent action, the sheriff’s office implemented the several precautionary measures at the jail, including:
- On-site visitation with inmates at the jail, to include on-property video visitation, is cancelled until further notice. Online video visitation remains available.
- At the discretion of the judges, the number of people allowed in the jail courtroom will be limited.
- Individuals being brought into the jail are screened based on the known symptoms.
- An added emphasis on cleaning and sanitizing areas where individuals enter the facility, to include booking, lobby, employee entrance, courtroom and work release area, is being implemented.
- Employees are following guidelines from the CDC to curb the spread of COVID-19.