FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Karla West
SHERIFF DARON HALL ANNOUNCES OPERATIONAL CHANGES TO REDUCE CORONAVIRUS EXPOSURE
Priority is making staff and inmate environment as safe as possible
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced Friday he has implemented changes to reduce the chances of Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) employees and inmates being exposed to Coronavirus, COVID-19. Those changes, all beginning Monday, include non-essential, non-public safety employees working from home, video visitation for inmates (exception made for attorneys), and volunteer programs are suspended until further notice. Clergy may schedule video visits.
In a correctional environment, cleaning measures are always of utmost importance; however, DCSO understands these are unique times and is taking extra cleaning measures to ensure safety of both staff and inmates. Center for Disease Control posters are hanging in all facilities and inmate housing areas indicating how to stop the spread of germs and how to recognize symptoms. Personal protective equipment is available for staff and leadership is emphasizing: Wash Your Hands.
“At this point, we have not had any employees or inmates present with symptoms, but we anticipate that happening,” Hall said. “Although we are a microcosm of the community, our population is high risk for communicable diseases. We are working closely with the health care provider, contracted through the health department. Any housing decisions, when it comes to presumptive cases will be directed by medical staff.”
The Day Reporting Program and DUI Safety School, located at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike, will suspend programming until further notice. Additionally, those required to self-report and serve “weekend time” will be credited for their time upon arrival, then immediately released. Individuals who received a citation and are scheduled to report for booking at the Justice A.A. Birch Building, should not report. In conjunction with court closures, this process will be closed until April 13. Hall hopes these procedures assist in limiting exposure and is exploring alternatives to decrease the number of incarcerated.
“Over the past couple of days, I have been in conversation with various Nashville criminal justice leaders regarding the reduction of our overall inmate population. Some ideas we are considering include releasing medically, high-risk inmates, releasing those approaching the end of their sentence, and expanded use of citations in lieu of physical arrests.
According to Hall, DCSO’s correctional leadership remains networked on a national level regarding COVID-19 trends and actions necessary to limit exposure. They have participated in numerous conference calls on this subject to stay informed and watched a webinar earlier today.
Finally, in an effort to create “social distancing,” upcoming DCSO-sponsored events that bring large crowds of employees together have been postponed until further notice.