Some non-violent offenders are being released early from custody.
After an inmate in the Newton County Jail tested positive for COVID-19, Neosho Municipal Judge Duane Cooper and Neosho chief of Police Jason Baird decided to release up to 10 non-violent offenders to help stop the spread of the virus.
“They’re low level offenders, I mean it’s not like these people have hurt anybody and you know just small stuff,” Baird said. “So you know if they continue to be a problem in the future they’ll go back to jail.”
These include people put behind bars for not paying a parking ticket, a suspended license, not showing up to court, having high weeds on their property, and petty theft.
“These are non-violent charges,” said William Petterson, Neosho assistant judge “Occasionally we will see some domestic abuse. We have certain cautions for those. Those are not within the realm of this.”
“The clear decision for the Newton County tax payers was to at this time release them on their own recognezness, which meant they are still coming back to court.,” Petterson said.
The Neosho Police Department encourages the community to always be aware of their surroundings, lock their doors, and drive safely.
“I really don’t see this as a negative situation,” Baird said. “I’m looking at the positive side for keeping people safe.”
The Neosho Police Chief has not said when the inmates will be released.
Those who are released early will still have to show up for court dates and the police chief said if they continue to be a problem in the future, they’ll go back to jail.