Cobb County

Hundreds of inmates released from metro jails because of coronavirus outbreaks

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Hundreds of people charged with a crime have been released from the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

Some attorneys say the volume they’ve seen is unprecedented but necessary to help flatten the curve.

“I’ve probably gone through about 80 to 100 cases over the last two weeks,” said defense attorney Michael Syrop. “All of the people I’m discussing have gotten out of jail one way or another. Either through a bond or plea deal.”

The circuit defender’s office, prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys have teamed up to work out bail or plea deals with inmates, said Syrop.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes is adamant that people deemed a danger to the public will stay behind bars.

“(The rumor that) everybody’s being released from jail no matter the charge or no matter who they have harmed in the past, that’s not the case,” said Holmes.

Attorneys and law enforcement officials estimate around 800 inmates have been released from the jail in the last three to four weeks.

“The jails are a lot of people on top of each other. The jail rotates people in and out every week,” said defense attorney Lawrence Zimmerman, the president of the Georgia Association of Defense Lawyers.

“It’s not if, it’s when that virus hits the jail. They got to make sure it’s manageable,” said Zimmerman.

Channel 2’s Chris Jose learned through law enforcement sources that 20-25 inmates have been released daily since the pandemic.

Jose contacted the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson provided the statement below:

"The proposed question is specific and the answers are numerous. If someone posts a bond or we receive an order from the court, we have to release. We do not have the authority to arbitrarily release any inmates, those decisions are made within the court system. The inmate population at our facility has also decreased due to no court hearings being held (meaning we have not received new inmates sentenced down from court) as well as suspended sentences that are allowing people to turn themselves in at a later date. Other circumstances exist besides those mentioned. The 20 to 25 releases per day is not out of the norm for the CCADC and is somewhat relevant to the numbers received through intake which are also down. The reduced population referred to in your question is not solely based upon the number of inmates who have posted bond or released per court order. Sheriff Warren commends the members of the legal community for their efforts in reducing the public to the exposure of this virus while weighing the needs of our justice system.”