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Local

Jasper County Jail navigating the coronavirus pandemic

The Jasper County Jail has changed the way they run due to the recent coronavirus pandemic.
The Jasper County Jail has changed the way they run due to the recent coronavirus pandemic.

A lot has changed since the coronavirus pandemic made its way to the United States including how the Jasper County Jail conducts daily operations. As of March 15, the jail has been working under instructions on the proper precautions as outlined by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control.

Along with disinfecting work areas and utilizing approved cleaners, staff was given recommendations of precautions including handwashing and social distancing.

“This also included staying home if showing symptoms and/or sick,” Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said.

The jail is also coordinating with Warren County on taking inmates since Warren County currently doesn’t have a jail. Halferty said they are limiting the kinds of inmates depending on their charges or the need to house them. This also includes potential Jasper County inmates.

“We do have some isolation areas for inmates who are sick, if needed. Inmates have also been educated on the current situation and are reporting any symptoms,” Halferty said.

In terms of how deputies are operating during arrests, Halferty said they are allowed to use their own discretion but it has been recommended for cite and release unless the crimes are against a person such as willful injury or assault, among others.

“We have coordinated with our court system and Jasper County attorney, as well,” Halferty said.

Deputies are also taking the proper precautions when conducting activities like traffic stops. They are minding the six-foot distance between individuals and stopping at the door of a building or house first and asking questions before entering.

“They have been provided with personal protective equipment and will use it when needed,” Halferty said.

The jail itself is closed to all visitors but Halferty said those who may be wanting visitations with inmates can still do so. Through the Homewav system that was installed last year people can continue to contact inmates.

“Friends and family can schedule and access the same visitation system from home,” Halferty said.

The jail has also put a stop to the non-essential services that have people coming into the jail. Those include meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gideons, Discover Hope and several other resources until further notice. The jail is also trying to utilize other options.

“We are utilizing tele-health options when possible,” Halferty said.

Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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