Pope County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

We are living in trying times of unprecedented proportions. Many of us have family, co-workers and friends who are battling sickness, some fighting for their lives at this very moment. And while every precaution has been taken within our facility through cleaning, sterilizing and isolating, the inevitable has now taken a foothold.

Over the past weekend, approximately 219 inmates and 26 employees were tested for the COVID-19 Delta variant strain. The test results identified 14 correctional officers and 88 inmates as positive for the variant. Of these, the majority were asymptomatic, displaying no indications of having the virus. Due to these factors, drastic measures were taken overnight to ensure the safety of the remaining inmates and employees and to attempt to stem the tide of future exposure.

In a collaborative effort with the court system, 86 inmates with ‭non-violent‬ charges were released or are in the process of being released. These individuals were released with a form advising them of quarantine protocols and were given masks as recommended by the CDC. While none of us want inmates released before they have served their time, this was necessary to aide in halting the virus within the facility as well as to assist the remaining correctional officers with a manageable population.

This will also allow for CDC distancing guidelines to be maintained. The remaining 133 inmates, some with positive results, are being closely monitored by the in-house medical team and have medical care available to them at all times.

The inmate housing capacity for the Pope County Detention Center is 172. During the past several months, the detention center inmate population has risen to 237, some 65 inmates over capacity, straining the staff and resources even under normal‭ conditions. ‬