The Daviess County Detention Center has had to shut down its inmate programs more than once during the COVID-19 pandemic, as officials took precautions to limit the possibility of coronavirus exposures inside the closed space of the facility.
But with the last COVID spike at an end, the jail is beginning to resume a semblance of normalcy for inmates.
Daviess County Jailer Art Maglinger said Friday that the jail has restarted many of its inmate education programs, such as GED classes, parenting classes and “Portal” reentry classes. The jail has also resumed in-person attorney visits.
“Attorneys have been allowed to come back on the secure side” for client visits, Maglinger said.
The surge in cases caused by the Delta variant forced the jail to suspend inmate programs. But that comes with a cost for inmates. On Friday, however, the jail had no inmates in quarantine and only had one deputy jailer off work due to the pandemic, Maglinger said.
“It is definitely improving,” Maglinger said
Maglinger said if some classes can’t meet for 90 days or more, the inmates have to start the class over from the beginning. Inmates receive jail credit for completing classes.
Some classes had been suspended for about 60 days before they were able to resume.
“I don’t want inmates to lose credit for what they’d earned,” Maglinger said. Classes are smaller sizes, with inmates and instructors required to wear masks and maintain distances.
“It seems like, now, with doing the best practices ... we can resume (classes) so the inmates receive credit,” Maglinger said.
Inmate visits are conducted virtually. Maglinger said jail church services — or any other programs led by volunteers — haven’t resumed.
“We’ll probably be reconsidering those next month,” Maglinger said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse