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Virus measures agreed upon by ACLU, Colorado county sheriff

The ACLU sued the Weld County Sheriff's Office earlier this year arguing that it failed to follow health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The ACLU of Colorado and the Weld County Sheriff’s office have reached an agreement to implement measures at the county’s jail to better protect inmates from the coronavirus pandemic.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams and the ACLU asked a federal judge Tuesday to enter a consent decree between the two sides to carry out the changes and provide federal oversight.

The ACLU had filed a lawsuit in April alleging that the sheriff’s office had failed to meet public health orders related to the pandemic and did not sufficiently protect inmates, jail staff and the public.

RELATED: Weld County jail takes steps to protect inmates following ACLU lawsuit, court ruling

The following is a list of key provisions of the proposed consent decree, which builds on, and adds to, the preliminary injunction previously imposed by the court:

  • Medically vulnerable persons are identified when they arrive at the jail, are afforded heightened protections including single-celling when possible, and regular medical monitoring
  • Measures are put in place to promote social distancing
  • Masks are distributed to all persons at the jail, and are required to be used
  • Persons held at the jail receive COVID-19 testing consistent with CDC guidelines
  • With only limited exceptions, through the end of the COVID-19 crisis, the jail does not accept persons charged with misdemeanors, municipal offenses, and petty offenses
  • The Sheriff will regularly advise police chiefs in Weld county to minimize custodial arrests and instead issue court summonses or personal recognizance bonds
  • The Sheriff will provide regular reports to the Chief Judge of the Weld County District Court, so that the court can undertake reviews to consider persons for release from the jail when feasible. 

RELATED: Federal judge orders Weld County Jail to protect medically vulnerable people from COVID-19

Joe Moylan, a spokesperson for the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, declined further comment.

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