The Bradley County Jail continues to work in compliance with all COVID-19 guidelines mandated by the Tennessee Corrections Institute. Jail administration has and will work closely with authorities at TCI; likewise, jail medical staff has and will work closely with the Bradley County Health Department, following the mandated guidelines.
The following procedures are observed today and have been since they were put into effect in March of 2020, said officials.
All incoming inmate booked at the Bradley County Jail will receive a COVID-19 screening from a nurse with the jail’s medical staff during his/her intake process. During this intake process, the nurse conducts a question-and-answer screening, inquiring if the inmate is experiencing any symptoms relating to COVID-19, if the inmate suspects that he/she has contracted or has been exposed to COVID-19 and if the inmate has been out of the country in the past two months. The inmate being screened is then offered the opportunity to receive testing for COVID-19, which comes at no cost to the inmate. Each inmate has the option to refuse testing, if he/she does not wish to be tested. This screening is recorded and documented with signatures from both the inmate and the nurse.
Following this screening process, if there is no indication of illness, the inmate’s pod assignment is defaulted to a designated isolation pod, where he/she will remain in isolation for 14-days, to ensure that he/she is free of COVID-19. While in isolation, the inmate’s temperature is checked once every 12 hours (twice daily) and is given an opportunity to report any contracted symptoms relating to the virus. Once his/her 14-day isolation is completed, the inmate will then be assigned and transferred to a regular pod to serve the rest of his/her time. If, at any point, an isolated inmate show confirmed signs of contracting the virus, he/she will be transferred to the designated quarantine pod.
Whether the inmate is in or out of isolation, he/she may request and receive medical attention or COVID-19 testing.
If the inmate posts bond or for any other reason does not remain in custody for 14-days, he/she will not be required to complete the full 14-day isolation.
If and when the aforementioned screening process indicates that an incoming inmate is experiencing any symptoms relating to COVID-19, has a fever or tests positive after a voluntary COVID-19 test, he/she will immediately be assigned to a designated quarantine pod. When an inmate is placed in the quarantine pod, he/she will remain there for 14-days. While in quarantine, the inmate’s temperature is checked once every 12 hours (twice daily) and receives appropriate care from the jail’s medical staff. Once the inmate’s 14-day quarantine is completed, he/she will be tested for COVID-19. If the test returns negative, the inmate will be assigned and transferred to a regular pod to serve the rest of his/her time. If the test returns positive, the inmate will remain in quarantine for another 14-days, at which time the same process and procedures will be followed until a negative test is received.
There are currently 33 inmates in the designated quarantine pod, who have all tested positive for COVID-19, but have remained asymptomatic. Every regular pod, including the isolation pod and the quarantine pod are provided with a cleaning cart equipped with all necessary cleaning supplies needed for proper disinfectant of surfaces. These cleaning products are provided to inmates by the Bradley County Jail. A cleaning cart is located in every pod and restocked daily.
At this time, the Tennessee Corrections Institute, which is over local jails — not to be confused with Tennessee Department of Corrections, which is over state prisons — has not issued any requirements mandating the use of masks or gloves for inmates. At the request of the Bradley County Jail, the National Sheriff’s Association and Tennessee Sheriff’s Association sent several hundred masks. These masks are currently undergoing modifications to meet qualifications for inmate use and will be distributed as soon as possible.
“As stated in previous releases, we are doing everything we possible can to combat this virus,” says Captain Jerry Johnson. “As our resources allow, are going above and beyond any requirements mandated by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.”
“We have done our very best to stay on top of the COVID situation since the beginning,” says Sheriff Steve Lawson. “We will continue working closely with TCI and the Bradley County Health Department, following every guideline that is given to us, but we will also go the extra mile by using these masks for our inmates at this time. I have said it many times and I will say it again: the health of our inmates and jail staff is my top priority. We have shown that by following every mandated given to us and then some.”