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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Correctional Center inmates who had their sentences postponed in response to COVID-19 have been returning to the jail to finish serving their time.
Twenty-eight people were asked to reschedule their sentences to make more room for social distancing in the jail when the pandemic began.
They started being released on March 20, 2020, and started returning to complete their sentences on June 1, 2021, Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said in an email.
The released inmates were given a certain amount of time to contact the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Finance Division to reschedule when they would serve their sentences. Five of the 28 people released failed to reschedule their sentences, and warrants have been issued for them.
The time remaining in the sentences of those who were released ranged from seven to 120 days.
In the Johnson County Jail, similar safety measures were taken, but only those who had more than 30 days left to serve were released, and that was only four inmates.
Of the four people released in Johnson County, one has not yet completed their original sentence, according to Alissa Schuerer, the public information officer for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
A few inmates in Linn County who were serving sentences in March 2020 were not released because they had fewer than two days left to serve.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gardner said people who were serving sentences usually made up about 10 to 15 percent of the jail population. Removing that part of the population allowed for more social distancing among inmates and was one of a few ways the jail responded to the pandemic.
Other responses included allowing inmates into their individual cells during the day, instead of forcing them into the day area, and allowing free phone calls and additional free letters each week since family members weren’t allowed to visit inmates in person.
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