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Guilford County releasing low-level offenders, reducing bonds during coronavirus pandemic

Over the past 3 weeks, the Sheriff's Office, along with local judges, the DA, and public defenders have freed hundreds of inmates - many due to COVID-19.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A spokesperson for Guilford County Sheriff’s Office confirms that over the past three weeks, the Sheriff’s Office has been working with local judges, the DA, and public defenders to release low-level offenders and reduce bonds, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A spreadsheet provided by Lori Poag, the public information officer for the Sheriff's Office show that between March 13 and April, 1,199 inmates were released from the High Point jail, and 500 were released from the Greensboro jail. 

Those numbers include both routine releases as well as inmates released due to coronavirus concerns. 

RELATED: Woman jailed after social media argument escalates into real-life shooting: Alamance Co. Sheriff's Office

Poag said these “low-level offenders” committed misdemeanors - such as trespassing and shoplifting crimes, or haven’t paid child support. 

Bonds for some inmates with felonies are significantly reduced, but Poag said more dangerous cases – like people with domestic assault charges - aren’t being released.

New arrestees often sign a written letter to appear for their court date. 

New inmates are kept in a separate, isolated area for 14 days before they can go to the general population in the jail.

Greensboro’s jail currently houses 601 inmates – with a maximum number of beds at 1032. High Point has 224 inmates – with a maximum number of beds at 272.

The Sheriff's Office has not tested any detention workers or inmates for COVID-19, nor have any shown symptoms. 

However, they do take the temperature of everyone entering the building and inmates are not allowed visitors.

RELATED: Coronavirus screenings of prison staff now system-wide


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