Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin has not released any inmates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even though jails were encouraged to decrease the population by granting inmates early release.

The local jail population has still seen a decrease, however. Partin updated the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee May 20 about the state of the jail.

“Since the COVID, I am proud to say that our judicial district has not let anyone out of jail, like some of our surrounding counties have,” Partin said. “But with the courts being semi-quarantined – they are open, but they are not at full speed – we have had a reduction of jail population over the last 45 days. With the number of empty beds I have in the jail, there’s ($200,000) we haven’t had to spend for medical issues and food items.”

Partin expressed optimism for the financial situation of the sheriff’s department in the upcoming fiscal year.

“Last year I had a couple of inmates that cost us several hundred thousand dollars (for medical expenses),” Partin said.

The capacity of the Coffee County Jail is 400 beds. The jail population in March was 304, and it was 330 in February. The jail housed 348 inmates in January, and 319 in December, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections. The most recent report of the department of corrections is for March.

When the new jail was opened in 2015, the inmate population rapidly grew from about 280 inmates to more than 400 in 2018, reaching 455 inmates in May of 2018, according to TDOC reports. By the end of 2018, the jail population had seen a decrease.

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