KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Having a large population in close quarters during a pandemic isn't ideal. That's the struggle jails across the Wabash Valley have been trying to handle. In Knox County, numbers are looking good.
Knox County sheriff Doug Vantlin explains, "We had a few corrections officers here that got it. We had a few deputies that got the virus. But we didn't have any inmates to get the virus. So we consider ourselves fortunate on that."
Loosening restrictions has been able to happen with help from inmates. Over 130 inmates volunteered to get vaccinated.
Vantlin says, "When almost three-quarters of the population in the jail has the vaccine, yes, that takes some stress off."
The Knox County jail is now lifting many restrictions. Corrections officers are no longer required to wear masks in the jail pod. Outside organizations like Life After Meth and other ministries are now being allowed back in.
Vantlin says, "We still quarantine. We try to keep them three to five days in quarantine to keep an eye on them before we move them back into population. Where before we were going up to ten days."
That quarantine could become a permanent fixture to help fight covid-19 and other sicknesses. But that all depends on space as the jail looks to expand.
Vantlin explains, "We'd like to keep it. If we have the space and someone new comes in we'll keep the quarantine for a couple of three days to keep an eye on them."