Some MO jails begin to release inmates in attempt to stop spread of virus

Jails in eastern Missouri are releasing inmates in a move to stop the spread of COVID-19

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports authorities in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County have decided to release more than 140 nonviolent offenders, as well as inmates who may be at high risk because of health problems.  The releases are being staggered, with the first wave released Wednesday.

To date, one Missouri prison inmate has tested positive for COVID-19.  The prisoner, who suffers from multiple medical conditions, was housed at Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph.  The inmate has since been moved to a Kansas City area hospital for treatment.  Officials say they’re unsure of how the inmate was exposed to the virus.

The Missouri Department of Corrections reports it has preventative measures in place to protect both its staff and prison population.  Anyone entering state prison facilities are now screened, all facilities are enforcing strict sanitization practices, and visits and transfers have been suspended.