Duval County Jail population down nearly 16%; no reported cases of COVID-19, Sheriff says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Since the State Attorney’s Office launched new policies to reduce the number of inmates in jail, the inmate population held in the Duval County Jail system has fallen.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the initiative is working. Sheriff Mike Williams said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within their facilities.

According to records obtained by News4Jax, the inmate population has dropped by nearly 16%.

The State Attorney’s Office launched the initiative to reduce the inmate population in Duval County on March 23 when the jail population was 2,219.

News4Jax obtained daily numbers that show from that date through April 17, the jail population decreased to 1,868 inmates, a decline of 15.8%. Most of the releases were inmates whose misdemeanor sentences ended.

As JSO continues to combat crime and make arrests during this pandemic, the other part of this initiative is to resolve cases quickly or allow people arrested to be released quickly on their own recognizance to await trial. This effort reduced the intake at the jail on a daily basis.

Throughout the course of this initiative, prosecutors have said, “We have done the heavy lifting in support of this initiative … the initiative is now self-sustaining. But we are not done.”

Within the email it is stated, progress will be monitored, and the State Attorney will formally declare ‘mission accomplished’ at a later date.

During the past few weeks, News4Jax has been receiving phone calls from viewers who are concerned about loved ones inside the Duval County jail system.

“Yes, so there’s been ongoing testing at the Department of Corrections in our jails, in our prison facilities, so that that continues, and we’ve maintained a proactive position with that but the reality of it is the men and women in corrections have done a phenomenal job because the testing is just one part of it but what the, the process that they’ve put in place to keep the jail and sanitized and everyone safe has been phenomenal," Mike Bruno, JSO’s Director of Patrol and Law Enforcement said.

This initiative is applicable to non-violent crimes, not felonies.

As for now, the jail remains closed to visitors.

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