NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several Tennessee sheriffs signed a letter from the Tennessee Sheriff's Association, opposing any broad release of inmates due to the COVID-19 crisis.
"While the Tennessee Sheriff's Association supports the orders of the Tennessee Supreme Court regarding the release of certain non-violent offenders, based upon several factors, we strongly oppose the broad release of inmates into our community," the letter stated.
In recent weeks, several inmates and Tennessee Department of Corrections workers have tested positive for COVID-19, putting the inmate population at risk.
Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe took to social media saying he stands with the Sheriff's Association.
"The safety of our citizens is our number one priority and we will not be releasing any inmate unless time is served, it’s court ordered, or bond is made," the post stated on Facebook.
The letter goes on to explain that even if the inmates were to be released, their chances of obtaining a job in the current COVID-19 economy are very low, which would in turn likely cause them to re-offend.
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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.