BEDFORD – Sheriff Mike Branham shared the jail population continues to fall in Lawrence County as more inmates are sentenced to the Department of Corrections.
The jail population this morning was 86, of those 72 were males, 14 were females, five Level 6 offenders, six Department of Correction holds, and 1 parole hold. The jail was at 48 percent capacity this morning.
“The jail population was at 75 one day,” added Sheriff Branham. “In my 30-plus years of service I have never seen the jail population under 90.”
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.
“Crime does not pay and they 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 and those that need to go to DOC (The Department of Correction) will be sentenced to DOC.”
Judge Cline shared arrest numbers are not down and officers are doing their jobs keeping criminals off the streets. A lot of those that were arrested in the past are now serving sentences at the Department of Correction.
“I can share that 100 percent of those that are sentenced to prison need to be in prison,” he added. “Those that cannot follow the rules and terms of their probation will face the consequences. Instead of looking at a few weeks or maybe a little more in the county jail, they are now facing two or more years in the Department of Corrections. Others are seeing that if you violate the terms of your probation you will go to prison and I think that is helping others to follow the rules and want to change their lives.”
Others who “make stupid mistakes,” said Judge Cline, are not being detained in a jail cell but are being placed on home detention.
“They are willing to work and change their lives and we are giving them that opportunity with house arrest,” added Judge Cline. “They need a little extra, but don’t need to be in a jail cell. House arrest provides that.”