Hennepin County Jail is reportedly unable to book suspects with warrants from other counties due to COVID. In audio from the local police scanner, obtained by Crime Watch Minneapolis, the dispatcher can be heard announcing that “for the next two weeks, Hennepin Jail is not taking anyone with just warrants from outside Hennepin County.”
New fresh Hell. Hennepin County Jail is now refusing to book & hold suspects that only have warrants outside of HennCo. Normally, suspects would be booked and held for transport to the county where the warrant exists. Now, unless another jail will take them, they will be freed. pic.twitter.com/Fel9Q5Eesi
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) January 12, 2022
In a typical booking scenario, when a suspect with a warrant is arrested, he or she is temporarily booked in the county the arrest occurs in and awaits transport to the county where the warrant is.
Jeremy Zoss, a spokesperson for Hennepin County Jail, told The Minnesota Sun that while it will not be allowing “people with active warrants to be set free,” due to the COVID spike the jail is working to “minimize the spread of COVID within our facility and to keep the staff and the inmates in our custody safe.” Zoss also told The Sun that 85% of their current jail population is being held for felony charges.
Zoss continued, “If a person is arrested on a warrant from another metro area county, our Transport Unit will work with the arresting agency to bring the person directly to the county that issued the warrant. For people with warrants issued outside the 7 county metro, the Hennepin County Jail will continue to accept them.”
According to the Hennepin County website, Hennepin County Jail is split between two locations: a jail inside the public safety facility which can hold 330 arrestees, and a jail inside the City Hall which can hold 509 arrestees.
As of January 11, Hennepin County Jail reported that it currently has 647 individuals detained, out of the 838 available beds. The website says the jail has “received enormous support from our local law enforcement partners, the judiciary, the County Attorney’s Office and the defense bar in keeping our population low.”
The jail is reportedly housing 45% fewer inmates than it was at the beginning of 2020, to help prevent the spread of COVID. Currently, 114 individuals in custody have tested positive for COVID, 85 of which are in quarantine.
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Hayley Feland is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “Hennepin County Jail” by Hennepin County.