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Cuyahoga County Jail releases hundreds of low-level offenders to prepare for coronavirus pandemic

Space for isolation, quarantine created
Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 19:55:14-04

CLEVELAND — After announcing plans to help limit exposure to COVID-19, the Cuyahoga County Jail has begun screening all incoming inmates, reducing the number of inmates and creating space for inmate isolation.

Last week, the jail’s population was around 1,900, but after reviewing cases of low-level offenders, the population has been reduced to just over 1,300 inmates.

“They’re not going to put the county at risk. That is absolute,” said Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County Executive. “They’re making sure that people who are violent offenders, who are sex offenders, they are not getting out. It’s the low-level offenders they’re looking at.”

By clearing out low-level offenders, Cuyahoga County Jail has been able to create spaces to isolate up to 25 inmates if they show symptoms of COVID-19 and quarantine up to 48 inmates if they were to test positive, according to Budish.

In addition to creating more space in the jail, all incoming inmates are being screened for symptoms of the coronavirus before being brought into the facility.

A Cuyahoga County spokesperson said there have been no positive COVID-19 cases from the jail.

RELATED: Cuyahoga County Jail works to release 300 defendants to reduce coronavirus risk