News Flash

Community Updates

Posted on: May 29, 2020

Mayor Lee Harris' Statement on Protecting Inmates and Detainees Amid Public Health Emergency

Updates FB Image

The protection of prisoners and other vulnerable populations is one of our top priorities and we have to be aggressive. A verse from Matthew reads: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” We will not forget that last part.

Amid the current public health emergency, we have taken a number of steps to provide a safe environment for inmates at our Corrections facilities, a/k/a the penal farm. In order to keep inmates safe, they are given masks regularly and replacement masks upon request. We have also doubled the amount of hygiene supplies provided. Lastly, we conduct daily screening and temperature checks for anyone entering the facility and access is limited. We will keep these protections in place for the rest of the year or longer if needed.

Furthermore, we want to continue to provide real-time, accurate COVID-19 related data on our inmate population. You can find that information, along with other Shelby County COVID-19 data, on our public data portal at data.shelbycountytn.gov.


5.22 Corrections Numbers (1)

In regards to COVID-19 testing, we have work to do.  As in the past, data drives action. In partnership with the state, we have organized a COVID-19 testing surge at the Shelby County Jail at 201 Poplar. And we will do more. We are working with state officials to plan for a testing surge at the penal farm. During the surge, all inmates and staff at the penal farm will be offered a test.

On a separate note, inmates at the penal farm have begun manufacturing masks that we are supplying for free to the community and community partners. Over 2,000 masks have already been manufactured. As a result, we have been able to deliver masks for free to our partners at Agape, which serves thousands of children and families in our community. We’ve provided masks to HopeWorks, which specializes in re-entry and putting ex-offenders back on track. We’ve also donated masks to YMCA childcare centers, who are providing free childcare to our essential workers at several locations across our community, and the Shelby County Office of Re-Entry, which provides community services to individuals returning to our community from incarceration. We plan to continue supplying these community organizations with masks produced by the Division of Corrections.

This program not only produces masks for our community but allows inmates to learn a new skill, earn good behavior credit, and contribute to our fight against the novel coronavirus. We want to get through this together. Together, we will get through this.




Please note that data, text, graphics, logos, pictures and other features on this website may be protected by U.S. copyright laws. Under the "fair use" section of the U.S. copyright laws, materials may be used for noncommercial; educational purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, and commentary; and news reporting. Please cite (refer to) the website address (www.shelbycountytn.gov) for any fair use of the content.

Commercial use is prohibited without prior approval from Shelby County Government (SCG). For commercial use, please contact Shelby County Government – Public Records at (901) 222-2100 or e-mail public.records@shelbycountytn.gov. SCG does not warrant that use of the content will not infringe upon any separate rights owned by third-parties who are not affiliated with SCG. Copyrights in some of the content are owned by other individuals and entities.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Community Updates