More than 100 inmates – those being held for non-violent offenses with low bonds – have been released from the Fayette County Prison since March 11.
While the facility does not have any positive COVID-19 cases, Warden Jeffrey Myers said Tuesday that the prison and the court system are working together in an effort to keep it that way.
“It’s a lot of people doing a lot of hard work to make this happen,” Myers said.
Earlier this month, the county suspended in-person visitation for inmates, instead using tablets to do video visitation and offering two free 5-minute phone calls each week. Employees are being screened before entering the facility and are wearing face masks, officials said.
As of Tuesday, Myers estimated 108 inmates had been released, with the prison population at 173.
As new inmates come in, officials said, they are checked for COVID-19 symptoms and placed in an intake area for 14 days to ensure they can safely enter the general prison population.
The moves are similar to some measures being taken by the state Department of Corrections at its 25 facilities across the state.
On Sunday, the DOC implemented a quarantine at all of its facilities, and will feed all inmates in their cells. Prisoners will be given out-of-cell time for video visits, phone calls and access to the law library, DOC Secretary John Wetzel said.
The move came after a COVID-19 case was confirmed in one inmate at a state prison in Montgomery County.
The total population is 44,572 at the state’s prisons, 491 fewer than last month, according to the DOC.
SCI-Fayette in Luzerne Township housed 2,030 inmates as of Tuesday, and has reduced its population by 72 inmates since last month.
SCI-Greene in Waynesburg has 1,791 inmates; seven fewer than last month.