A new effort to control the spread of the coronavirus at Allen County Jail could mean fewer offenders will spend Christmas there.
“Not all of those arrested will be booked into the facility,” Allen County Sheriff’s public information officer Steve Stone said this week in an email response. “Each case is evaluated and certain people could be summoned to appear before the judge bypassing the closed session. Domestic violence charges and sighted or impaired driving offenses are just a few examples of people who will be incarcerated for reasons of public safety.
Four inmates tested positive for the virus and were isolated as of Wednesday, Sheriff David Gladieux said. The department is awaiting test results for another inmate. As of Wednesday, the prison population was 732 people. The prison was built to accommodate 741 people.
The sheriff’s department had to limit the number of registered violators due to precautionary measures. When inmates are enrolled, they are quarantined for up to two weeks with up to two other inmates at a time before being transferred to the general prison population, Stone and Gladieux said.
“When the local numbers started to rise, we closed,” Gladieux said. Without being specific, Gladieux said less serious felony suspects would not be accepted. The felony counts range from one to six, one being the most serious. The misdemeanor charges would be less serious.
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Michael McAlexander said those on arrest warrants would face no additional penalties due to the new policy instituted last week.
“Most county officers, no matter what department they are in, know the policies of the prison. They wouldn’t necessarily carry out the warrant because they know that if they take someone there the jail won’t accept them, ”McAlexander said in a voicemail.
“If they got someone for a relatively minor offense, it wouldn’t be accepted in jail,” McAlexander said.
People will likely receive a summons in two to three months, he added.
“People with warrants are probably no more at risk than they normally are,” McAlexander said. Out-of-town departments will contact the sheriff’s department here for instructions, McAlexander said.