COVID-19 Helps Force Reduction in Jail Population

The Roane County Jail is certified to house 170 inmates. The jail population was 316 when the Tennessee Corrections Institute inspected it on September 3, 2019. This week the population was somewhere around 160.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has played a role in the reduction.

When Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins extended an order limiting in-person court proceedings because of COVID-19, he also directed the presiding judge of each judicial district to come up with a plan to “address issues regarding the incarceration of nonviolent offenders in furtherance of efforts to reduce the jail population.”

Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks signed the order for the Ninth Judicial District, which consists of Roane, Loudon, Meigs and Morgan counties, on March 30.

“In a period of five business days, we were able to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders from the overall jail population in the district from 452 inmates to 359 inmates,” the order said. “This represents a 21 percent reduction in the jail population.”

Wicks, a Roane County resident, is the presiding judge for the district.

“All defendants being held on contempt charges for child support were released from custody and the sentences for some defendants serving time on misdemeanors and violations of probation were suspended,” the order said.

As of Wednesday, there were more than 2,500 positive cases of coronavirus in Tennessee, but just 12 in the counties that make up the Ninth Judicial District. Loudon led the way with eight. Roane County had two and Morgan and Meigs had one each.

“Hopefully, we can do our part in preventing the virus from spreading to our local jails,” the order said.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 25, Chandler 21, and Naomi 11. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 9 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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