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Jail population dramatically decreased to hamper spread of COVID-19

18 April 2020 Covid19 News


Following guidance from Gov. Northam, jails are dramatically decreasing their populations. Jails are often a hotbed for infections such as COVID-19, and to subject low-level offenders to such an environment is inhumane, argues Northam.

The situation is being handled on two fronts: reducing the numbers of new low-level offenders being committed and modifying the sentences of low-level offenders who had already been committed. Notably, low-level offenders are not simply let off the hook. Alternatives to jail are being considered and used, such as the use of summonses by law enforcement in lieu of arrest, or home electronic monitoring.

So far, Virginia has seen a 67 percent decline in new commitments for misdemeanors, and a 17 percent decrease in jail population.

More details can be found in Northam’s full release.

To stay up to date on COVID-19 in the Shenandoah Valley, see our COVID-19 updates post.

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