Some county jails in the state are releasing non-violent misdemeanor charged inmates because of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the outbreak, health experts have said jailed inmates are especially vulnerable. It’s thought captive inmate populations could be at risk of an outbreak as they are forced to live within close quarters.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department is not releasing any inmates before a judge orders their release. All individuals brought to jail are immediately checked for symptoms of the coronavirus, then processed and placed into the jail. Officials say there is a separate area that will be used should a case of coronavirus come up. Officials said inmates are actually safer in the jail pods than outside the facility on the street. The jail administration offices are limited to sheriff’s department staff only.
The Roane County Sheriff’s Department has a different approach. Assistant Deputy Chief Tim Hawn told 105.7 news “we have released people from jail that were in custody on non-violent misdemeanors such as failure to appears and violations of probation.” All other inmates currently held will remain in the Roane County jail unless they bond out or their case is resolved.