Local inmates released to help social distancing efforts

FRANKLIN, Ky. –  Inmates across the state are being released from county jails during the second wave of discharges issued by Governor Beshear.

Over 900 Kentucky inmates have now received commuted sentences.

In order to accommodate better social distancing among inmates, some non-violent offenders nearing their release date were granted early discharge.

Before leaving the jails, the state provided these inmates with information on online narcotics and alcoholics anonymous meetings, a supply of Narcan, and phone numbers to mental health help lines.

Lacy Roberts, the Class D Coordinator at the Simpson County Detention Center says now that these inmates are home, they are confronting a lot of change.

“Being at home is hard for these inmates because they aren’t used to being at home. Now they have freedom but they are self-quarantined so it is an adjustment period and some people may want to use and if they do, they are giving them the Narcan to be proactive for the situation,” said Roberts.

Last Friday,  John Edelen walked out of the Simpson County Detention Center a free man after spending 10 months behind bars.

“Going to my family farm where my house is you know, which any inmate it’s on their mind how their family is doing and all that stuff,” said Edelen.

Edelen is one of 900 Kentucky inmates to be released early from jail due to the pandemic.

Simpson County Jailer Eric Vaughn does not believe the early releases pose any extra threat to society.

“They are six months to the door low level inmates low level offenders. They are going to get out regardless,” said Vaughn.

The hope is the early releases will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“If we can release healthy inmates, we are better off rather than keeping them in here another six months and taking a risk of them getting sick,” said Vaughn.

The inmates face the possibility of having the rest of their sentences reimposed if they commit new offenses or fail to meet other conditions once released.