Davidson County Sheriff Reduces Jail Population During Coronavirus Emergency


Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced he has initiated plans to reduce the number of inmates in sheriff’s office custody as the coronavirus emergency continues.

This, according to a press release Hall put out this week.

Those plans include expanding pre-trial release criteria and eliminating the work release program. PTR participants are expected to double over the next few days and all work release inmates are being furloughed immediately, the press release said.

The Tennessee Star asked sheriff’s office spokeswoman Karla West if Hall and his staff had considered alternatives before deciding on this course of action.

“We are exploring every option that would release qualifying inmates out of our jails,” West said in an email.

“The point is to reduce the number of inmates so there is less chance of COVID-19 exposure to both staff and inmate.”

COVID-19 is another way of saying coronavirus.

The Star then asked what guarantees Hall could make that these inmates won’t commit crimes once they’re out.

“Those who are placed on the expanded PTR will be monitored by sheriff’s office PTR case management like all the other participants,” West said.

Hall explained his plans further in his press release.

“I am working with Chief Public Defender Martesha Johnson by providing her lists of medically high-risk individuals who may qualify for release, including pregnant inmates,” Hall said.

“As sheriff, I am working to reduce the number of individuals in our custody and it’s imperative all criminal justice leaders do the same.”

The press release went on to say that while many in the system work toward necessary releases, misdemeanor arrests have increased over the past two weeks. Hall said “we must take bold action and the system cannot continue to operate under a business as usual mindset.”

“As stated last week, we fully expect to have COVID-19 positive cases in our facilities. It’s critical we reduce the inmate population now,” Hall said.

“As criminal justice leaders we need to take action because of the serious impact this virus will have on sheriff’s office staff and inmates.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]




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5 Thoughts to “Davidson County Sheriff Reduces Jail Population During Coronavirus Emergency”

  1. William Delzell

    Some police officers, believe it or not, would agree with the Davidson County sheriff on this issue of being selective on whom to jail. We have had some courageous police who want to protect victims from violent criminals. Nobody is advocating their release and the Tea Party knows it! We have had several police blow the whistle on fellow police or chiefs who support illegal activities by crooked cops who like to fleece poor people, to arrest people on trumped up charges just to meet an arrest quota. A few years ago, a police officer risked his job and life to protest against a policy by NYPD to meet an arrest quota every day, even if that meant having to knowingly arrest innocent people, just to meet a quota!. That meant that if, say only twenty people committed a crime on a given police officer’s beat and the officer HAD TO arrest at least 25 people that day, then he or she would have to arrest at least five innocent people by making it look like they were guilty. National Public Radio finally exposed this racket by having the whistle-blowing police officer secretly record a conversation by higher up police officials bragging about sending innocent people to prison to enhance their promotional prospects. The whistle-blower received death threats from fellow police officials and higher ups for daring to expose them. Movies like Serpico (1973) with Warren Beaty showed a courageous cop exposing NYPD’s collusion with gangs, its extortion of law-abiding people, its running of protection rings, etc. You also had Poppy Doyle of French Connection fame who exposed NYPD’s relationship with French drug cartels from Marseilles that brought in a huge chunk of illegal drugs to New York City in the early 1970’s. In 1995, we had expose’s on New Orleans’s police officers shaking down tourists, “rolling” homeless people, extorting money from legitimate small businesses, or even police murdering and robbing convenience store owners in low-income neighborhoods. In Phoenix, you had the crooked sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who not only indiscriminately jailed both innocent and guilty and promoted racism, but who fleeced the tax payers to subsidize his wealthy life-style. That creep never spent a day in jail for his many crimes! You so-called victims’ rights activists are silent on these horrible crimes!

    These examples of good police want only to arrest those who pose a REAL threat to the law-abiding, not somebody who is merely a public nuisance. These police will share the Nashville Sheriff’s desire on being more selective on who to admit to our jails.

    Steve, what about these CORPORATE criminals at Goldman Sachs, Wall Street, corporat/sex predators like Harvey Weinstein, realtors, bankers, and other venues of power who commit crimes against policy-holders? What about banks and realtors who red-line neighborhoods to perpetuate segregation or to illegally evict people? Their crimes have ruined the lives of millions of law-abiding citizens! Steve, do you believe in victims’ rights for those who get swindled by big shots or do you support corporate criminals yourself? Do you want crooked cops targeting the law-abiding instead of targeting the REAL criminals?

    Not me! I want police and sheriffs who accept accountability for their actions and who take their jobs seriously of targeting only the gulty.

    1. TRH

      The Justice system in TN flushed out public nuisance incarceration years ago. These jails are all full of repeat offenders and parole violators. This has nothing whatsoever to do with “crooked cops,” it has to do with keeping bad people away from law abiding people. Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has been working hard for years to keep their jail numbers down. It’s all about saving money, not protecting the public.

  2. TRH

    Typical from someone never being a Policeman, just a jailor. Has to be a liberal to get elected in Metro Nashville.

  3. 83ragtop50

    Yet another excuse to dump criminals back on the street. A liberal’s dream.

  4. Steve Allen

    Lock and load. I doubt criminals are just going to behave themselves and not commit more crimes.