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Washington County to release some inmates due to coronavirus concerns

Last week, 71 inmates were released, another 81 will be released by the end of this week and jail officials are already working on another list for release.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Washington County jail officials are releasing some non-violent offenders to reduce the population and combat COVID-19 concerns.

Jail officials have been working with state and federal leaders and health officials to identify inmates who are categorized as "high risk" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, 71 inmates were released, another 81 will be released by the end of this week and jail officials are already working on another list for release.

The inmates released are all approved by the Washington County Prosecutor and the Circuit Judge.

The idea is to reduce population size so the risk of contracting the virus goes down and isolation can better happen if a case is contracted. 

Right now, no employees or inmates are known to have the virus.

All outside guests visiting inmates have been put on hold. 

Everyone, judges, employees and staff are being screened before entering the building. 

The inmates who meet the criteria are being released but with supervision such as ankle monitoring or cell phone app monitoring.

Some inmates who meet the criteria are 45 and older, have health problems and are non-violent offenders such as didn't show up for a court date or failure to pay fines. 

The cost is being handled by the sheriff's department.

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