Weld County Sheriff Responds to Judge’s Inmates’ Rights Ruling
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has responded to a federal judge's May 11 ruling about the Weld County Jail's COVID-19 practices.
The ruling stated that the Weld County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) was violating inmates' rights by not properly safeguarding the jail's at-risk population from the coronavirus.
The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by seven inmates and the ACLU of Colorado, which asserted that WCSO's inadequate protection measures caused an outbreak of COVID-19 in the jail.
The judge ordered the sheriff's office to present a list of at-risk inmates, improve at-risk inmate isolation, get more masks for inmates, and develop better cleaning procedures in certain areas of the jail.
The Greeley Tribune reports that WCSO has followed the above orders.
However, Sheriff Reams expressed his distaste for the judge's decision in a Facebook post, stating that he had never "been more personally disappointed by a court's ruling."
He took particular issue with the judge's statement that WCSO was practicing "deliberate indifference" in the Weld County Jail, noting that officials had been taking every possible action against COVID-19 since February.
Reams called the lawsuit frivolous, and said he believes that the judge's orders will actually cause setbacks in the jail's prevention of the virus.
"We truly believe the ruling...forces my staff and I to take a step backward in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Weld County Jail," Reams stated in the post. "I believe my jail operation has been, and continues to be, one of the finest correctional facilities in the country. I assure you the Weld County Sheriff's Office remains more committed than ever to the mission of public safety, both in the community and at the Weld County Jail."
According to The Greeley Tribune, a total of 12 inmates in the jail have tested positive for the virus so far.