Local county jails adopt new policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – There are many concerns about keeping people healthy during this coronavirus pandemic and local correctional facilities are no exception.

Right now there are no coronavirus cases or pending tests at the Onslow County Jail or the Pitt County Detention Center, but they are taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus to inmates and employees. 

We have modified our booking procedure, we have a ranking officer help screen the inmate to be, the arrestee, and what we do is we check their temperature to see if there are any signs,” says Hans Miller, Onslow County Sheriff. 

The Pitt County Detention Center is also pre-screening people who have been arrested.

Corrections officers are also implementing a quarantine policy for new inmates. 

Major Jeff Phillips explains, “those that come into the facility have two seven day stints in a quarantine status. Once they actually complete a fourteen-day regiment of quarantine then they can move to other portions of the facility.”

Visitation is important for inmates, but the spread of coronavirus is disrupting that practice. 

Certainly we want there to be some kind of visitation but we don’t want to take the risk of the bug being brought into the building. We put video visitation here temporarily on hold and we encourage people to visit by telephone,” says Sheriff Miller. 

Pitt County Detention Center is doing something similar. 

“About a week and a half, two weeks ago we stopped our onsite video visitation. It’s all home-based. Anyone that wants to visit an inmate at the Pitt County Detention Center now has to do so through homewave.com,” says Major Phillips.

There are cleaning crews at each facility working to keep things sanitary. 

Leaders want people to know everyone has a role in stopping the virus, even in jail.

“I think we all need to of course be safe and the only way we can do that, we have to continue following the guidelines that CDC recommends as well as on our state and local levels, we have to keep everyone safe, that includes those that are confined,” Major Phillips says.

Commanders say these policies could change, depending on the health situation in the community, and within the detention centers.

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