MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office has released two dozen inmates and may set more loose as COVID-19 rages out of control.

Mobile County Metro Jail Warden Trey Oliver told FOX10 News last week that was a possibility. At the item, about 70 inmates were COVID-positive – the most since the pandemic became. As of Wednesday, Oliver said, that number had swelled to 110.

Lori Myles, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said prisoners have to meet certain criteria in order to be considered for release. On Tuesday, the jail released 24, although none on Wednesday.

“We have a high number, but they’re homeless, and we are not about to release them, obviously,” she said.

Myles said the jail is using a modified plan developed to respond to a hurricane threatening the jail on St. Emanuel Street. Inmates who get released will be treated like any other prisoner out on bail. They will have to comply with conditions of release and attend court hearings. If they don’t, arrest warrants will be issued to return them to jail.

Inmates will be ineligible for release if they are being held for offenses related to domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to appear in court, or if a law enforcement agency has a “hold” on them.

So far, only prisoners charged with misdemeanors in Mobile Municipal Court have been considered.

Myles said the jail population is constantly in a state of flux.

“It changes day to day,” she said. “They have to re-evaluate the numbers.”

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