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Tuolumne County Jail Releases Inmates Due To COVID-19 Crisis

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Sonora, CA – In an effort to adhere to the Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call to reduce jail populations Tuolumne County Sheriff’s official relay ten inmates were released last night.

Regarding those inmates’ crimes, Sheriff’s spokesperson Nicco Sandelin tells Clarke broadcasting, “I don’t know the exact crimes of all ten released. However, we do know that they were not violent crimes and are not considered a public threat. All the inmates were within 14 days of their sentencing completion.”

The jail can house up to 149 inmates and with this release, there are currently 123. Sandelin details, “The purpose of the release was to provide two cells which will be designated for isolation in the event we have a positive COVID-19 case within our inmate populations.”

Currently, there are no positive coronavirus cases in the jail, but Sandelin says the most vulnerable inmates, 65 years old or older, or medically vulnerable adults, are being checked by a nursing service. However, he did not have the total number of inmates that fit that description.

Inmates wearing personal protective gear are cleaning their cells with a “Lemocide” cleaner/disinfectant twice a day while being supervised by jail staff. Also, all remaining inmates and staff are being screened twice daily since Monday, which includes having their temperatures taken. Sandelin relays, “We are monitoring our staff coming in and leaving. Then monitoring new inmates coming into the facility as well as inmates that are going to be getting released back into Tuolumne County, making sure…we get them to a medical facility and get them tested or treated if necessary.”

Whether more inmates will be released, Sandelin advises, “At this point, there’s no plan to specifically release anybody else. However, it is an evolving situation that changes daily. So, we can’t say for a fact that we will not be, but at this point are plan is to not release anybody else.”

Sheriff’s officials say they are continually adjusting their procedures and protocols to ensure that everyone is put in the safest environment possible.

Of note, Sierra Conservation Center is reporting that five prisoners have been tested for the virus, but all were negative. Additionally, no staff has needed to be tested at this time.