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Ohio Jail Considers Releasing Prisoners Due to Virus Concerns

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There is no question about it. COVID-19 is affecting nearly aspect of life in the United States of America right now. From professional sports, small businesses, churches and school schedules, it seems that nearly everyone is in some way affected.

Now even prisoners of the Cuyahoga County Jail are going to be affected.

The court is currently reviewing the options to release some prisoners in order to prevent spread of the disease in jails.

According to a local media report:

“It’s not a matter of if this virus hits us, it’s a matter of when,” said administrative judge Brendan Sheehan. “If it hits us and the jail, it will cripple our criminal justice system.”

Sheehan told 19 News on Friday that the hope is to release between 200-300 low-level offenders from the Cuyahoga County Justice Center to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the jail.

Sheehan said the jail has a population of about 1,900 and if the virus creeps in, there won’t be enough room to quarantine the infected inmates.

“The Court is collaborating with the County Sheriff’s Office, the County Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and MetroHealth Medical Center to address the potential for COVID-19 in the jail. Details of those plans are in discussion at this time. The goal is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the jail, while still meeting the safety needs of the community.”
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Statement

Comments on social media have been mixed in regards to the proposal. Some commentators believe that unless there is a direct threat, that the prisoner release should not be considered. Others were onboard with the measure as a way to reduce the spread of disease.