Daviess County Detention Center officials said the facility is moving in a better direction after experiencing two major outbreaks of COVID-19 in recent months. According to officials, there are currently nine active infections at the jail — down from roughly 50 in late January.
Jailer Art Maglinger said Thursday during a Fiscal Court meeting that DCDC and law enforcement had been actively working to reduce the number of inmates at the jail due to risks associated with the pandemic. Maglinger pointed out that the ability to social distance in a corrections setting was difficult.
The population at DCDC currently stands at 603 total inmates, Maglinger said — including 245 from Daviess County along with 264 state and 94 federal inmates.
The majority of inmates, he noted, were currently incarcerated for felony offenses.
Maglinger said 13 county inmates were currently incarcerated for misdemeanor offenses, adding that those in jail for minor charges were normally released “in a matter of days or weeks.”
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly addressed a handful of complaints and concerns Fiscal Court had received regarding prisoners in jail for minor offenses during the pandemic.
“We hear on Facebook that we need to empty the jail for minor offenses, or substance abuse,” he said. “But I know that since COVID, and even prior to COVID, [they’re given a citation] and never see the inside of a jail.”
Most of those currently incarcerated were being held on charges related to drug trafficking and child abuse, Mattingly added.
Meanwhile, County Attorney Claud Porter said the number of inmates with misdemeanor offenses had been greatly reduced in recent months.
“We’re working with the jail to identify those and get them into places that are more appropriate,” he said.
Porter said a number of inmates with felony-level offenses were also being released from jail.
“Some felony inmates get out on pretrial release,” he said. “Less violent offenses are more likely to get some kind of reduced bond consideration to get out, or they meet the pretrial release criteria.”
Maglinger said DCDC was doing everything in its power to keep inmates and staff safe, and that the jail had begun providing a variety of ways for inmates to connect with their loved ones — including phone calls, two additional video chats per week, and digital email service — to ease the nerves of worried friends and family members.
Though calls from the jail cost 16 cents per minute — of which a large portion of the revenue goes toward funding inmates’ commissary accounts — Maglinger said the digital emailing service was free for up to 100 emails a month.