Breaking News
More () »

Some Lexington jail inmates being released in response to coronavirus

The S.C. Supreme Court directed the release of inmates charged with non-capital crimes.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Seven defendants were released from the Lexington County Detention Center in a response to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.  

The release, a response to a memorandum sent out to magistrates, municipal judges an summary court staff by the South Carolina Supreme Court, directs those charged with a non-capital crimes ‘shall be ordered released pending trial on his own recognizance without surety, unless an unreasonable danger to the community will result or the accused is an extreme flight risk.

RELATED: List: How Midlands restaurants and breweries are dealing with COVID-19

RELATED: Lexington Police initiates call response plan during coronavirus emergency

Inmates that were jailed before COVID-19 are also affected by this memorandum. 

“The judicial order also calls for pre-trial detainees to be released from jail on a personal recognizance bond if the individual has already been held for the maximum possible sentence of an offense,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Detention commanders are communicating with judges to ensure detainees are serving the proper amount of time in accordance with the chief justice’s directives handed down earlier this week in response to COVID-19.”

Sheriff Koon went on to say, "it's important for community members to know each and every release will be handled on the basis of a court order. That’s always the case and the way the system works. We strictly abide by court orders when it comes to who gets out and when. "

What is the Coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.