With Logan County seeing it’s first three positive COVID-19 cases, Sheriff Jason Massey said that the detention center is continuing to add precautionary procedures to help prevent the virus from spreading to the jail.
“The spread of the coronavirus is a major concern for the detention center and any other detention center or correctional institute,” said Massey.
All Logan County Detention Center employees are screened when they enter the building with their temperature taken and Massey said they are educated on the symptoms of the coronavirus. Daily routines like how food is served and medical and dental accessibility have not changed.
“One-on-one visitation inside the facility is restricted to attorneys, mental health and medical professionals, etc. who will have to go through our screening process before entering the facility. We will also accommodate attorneys and professionals through phone visitation to decrease one-on-one visitation.”
The staff has canceled all in-house group meetings such as church services and classes for inmates until further notice. Civilian services have also been canceled. These services include fingerprinting for applications and licenses.
“Our detention staff wear masks and gloves when interacting with inmates and when preparing or serving food. We have limited the movement of employees within our building. We are keeping our distance from each other as best we can.”
Cleaning supplies and soap are available to inmates to sanitize their cells and wash their hands frequently. Inmates are being educated about the virus from jail employees and from local news. Massey said that masks are available for inmates if they are transported out of the facility and returned, such as going to a hospital or for a mental health examination.
Massey said they will continue video visitation at this time and will work to keep the phones and kiosks sanitized during the visitation process.
“Inmate visitation with family and friends at our facility is through video visitation where inmates use video kiosks in their cell blocks to speak with visitors who come to a room off the front lobby and use the video kiosks there to communicate with the inmates.”
Inmates and arresting officers are being screened in the Sally Port before they enter the facility. Massey said that when an inmate is booked in, they stay in a booking cell for a few days to be monitored for any symptoms.
“They can stay in the cell for 14 days if they are asymptomatic or have been in contact with someone who is asymptomatic. We have two cell blocks out of the eight total cell blocks that have been cleared in case we need to isolate anyone. These two cell blocks have individual cells in them for further isolation.”
Currently, officials have been working on getting inmates released on bonds and plea agreements using telecommunication means to lower the jail population and are not picking up arrestees in other counties unless they are for sexual or violent offenses, stated Massey.
“Our agency and the city police departments are making fewer arrests and traffic stops and all of our calls for service are lower as more people stay home. Our deputies are patrolling more and our extra patrol list is way up as more people are at home and are calling in about speeding vehicles, suspicious vehicles, etc.”
Massey said that the county has received a few domestic incident calls and he fears that those calls will increase along with suicide calls during the isolation.