Lawrence County jail

The Lawrence County jail

The population at the Lawrence County jail has dwindled to 78 inmates during the COVID-19 restrictions in place statewide.

Of that total, nine inmates are women.

At a meeting of the Lawrence County Prison Board this week, warden Brian Covert noted that the jail population "has been considerably low the past six weeks." 

The jail's total capacity is for 286 inmates, Covert said Thursday afternoon. That 78 compares with 197 inmates who were in jail a year ago at this time.

All of the board members — the three commissioners, the district attorney, president judge, county controller and the sheriff — attended the meeting, along with some jail personnel and medical contract workers.

The low number of inmates in the facility is largely because of COVID-19 regulations, people staying home and out of trouble and people being off of work.

Commissioner Loretta Spielvogel, who is chairman of the prison board, commended the jail staff for keeping the inmates spaced apart and for instilling other protocol to ensure the safety of the staff and the inmates. She noted that the medical staff takes temperatures regularly.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported at the jail.

"We know there are other facilities that have had a difficult time with that," Spielvogel said.

Commissioner Dan Vogler commended Prime Care Medical Associates, the county's contracted medical staff for the jail, for its virtual meetings with the county officials every Wednesday, to discuss precautions being taken and other inmate care.

"As the governor begins easing restrictions throughout the commonwealth, I can tell you these numbers will not last," District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa warned. "Law enforcement has taken specific steps to make sure people are not incarcerated (right now).

"The more people who are out there (in public), the more arrests are going to occur," he said. "It's important that even if the governor does turn the county green, that the jail still continue to exercise the protocols that are in place."

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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