Hughes County Jail undergoing changes during outbreak

PIERRE, S.D. (KCCR) – The Hughes County Jail is undergoing some changes in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Sheriff Darin Johnson updated Hughes County Commissioners Thursday about what’s changing at the jail. He says they’re working on reducing the jail’s general population.

Johnson says they are working with defense attorneys about remote access to clients, but the attorneys are expressing concerns about confidentiality. Some sobriety programs are being suspended.

Another concern for Johnson is staffing in case jail employees get ill.

Hughes County lost the use of Department of Corrections trustees for cleaning after the Monday escape of nine trustee inmates. The jail has turned to their inmates and staff for cleaning. Johnson is also enacting health screenings and is researching the purchase Covid-19 test kits that use blood samples and return results nearly immediately. As of Wednesday 130 inmates were housed at the Hughes County Jail with a max capacity hold just over 160.