Pueblo jail releasing "low-level offenders" due to coronavirus concerns

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PUEBLO, Colo (KKTV) - The Pueblo County jail is releasing low-level offenders to decrease the possibility of exposure and infection of COVID-19 within the jail.

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10th Judicial District Attorney Jeff Chostner said in a statement to 11 News, they are releasing inmates who have 30 days or less left on their sentence. This does not include prisoners who have been convicted of a crime of violence or a sexual offense.

"We also have agreed to not release individuals who's victims qualify for the Victims Rights Act. We are sensitive to the victims and their families' concerns that we are not releasing people that are a potential safety risk to the community," said Chostner.

PCSO said the jail is now under-capacity with 483 total inmates after releasing about 190 inmates the last two weeks.

"It really helped that the courts and the DA and the public defender got together and were able to get some folks out on bond, that decreased the population in the jail," said Sheriff Kirk Taylor.

The jail was commonly overcrowded with an average daily population of 742 inmates. The capacity in the jail is 509 inmates.

"When I took office way back when I had hair and I was tall and handsome, it was 513 the day I walked into the office so we're actually below what we were 14-15 years ago," said Taylor.

PCSO also bought thermometers, checking the temperatures of staff as they enter the jail, and any inmates who may have symptoms. At the time of this writing, there are no cases of COVID-19 in the jail. There are three total cases in Pueblo County.