Jail population continues to fall in Lawrence County

BEDFORD – The jail population continues to fall in Lawrence County as more inmates are sentenced to the Department of Corrections or house arrest.

The jail population this morning was 78. On November 22, the jail population was 86.

Superior Court II Judge Bob Cline was also in attendance at the commissioners’ meeting, saying these numbers are what we should expect in the jail for a county the size of Lawrence County.

Judge Bob Cline

“Crime does not pay and those that commit crime need to adopt the attitude that if you break the law you will go to prison,” said Judge Cline. “Judges are taking a firm stand on sending repeat offenders to the Department of Corrections.”

Chief Defense Attorney Tim Sledd shared the jail population will drop even lower.

Chief Defense Attorney Tim Sledd

“40 of those inmates have been sitting in jail since November 1. Eight are awaiting a trip somewhere like DOC, while others are awaiting a release date after serving a short sentence,” he added. “When the jail population is at a lower number the stress level in the facility is down, as Judge Cline said this morning when they are stacked in there like wood the inmates can’t make smart life decisions.”

Defense Attorney Sledd, Prosecutor Sam Arp along with Judge Cline meet often to discuss the jail population numbers and address issues on why inmates are sitting in jail.

In the month of November, defense attorneys were assigned 90 criminal cases, 9 Children in Need of Services cases, and three Terminations of Parental rights cases.

“The CHINS cases take a long time, they are equivalent to defending a murder case,” added Sledd. “They are not settled quickly and are detailed.”

But with the caseload, Sledd’s staff is handling the workload.

“We are adequately staffed and have not had to contact out any cases,” he added.