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COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington County Jail

Written by Sydney Spack, Red & Black Contributing Writer

Recently, COVID-19 has begun to die down in many places, but quite the opposite has happened for the Washington County Jail. As written by Mike Jones from the Observer-Reporter, over the past few weeks a “highly contagious” strain has infected numerous inmates of the jail, including Jamil Carr, 23, who is on trial for a homicide case. The outbreak within the jail has resulted in a lockdown to prevent any spreading of the contagious disease. This lockdown is expected to be lifted on Oct.3, according to warden Jeffrey Fewell.

The Washington County Correctional Facility is located on Cherry Ave near the Washington County Courthouse (Courtesy: Regan Carlson, Red & Black Photography Manager)

Unfortunately for Carr, the lockdown affected his most recent hearing as he was unable to be physically present, but rather present through the screen of a technological device. Jones additionally wrote that Carr requested to be transported to the court in order to speak to his defender, Anton Berkovich.

This request was denied due to the lockdown rules and safety regulations in place, even though Carr explained he was experiencing difficulty hearing his public defender. Berkovich requested that District Judge Kelly Stewart reschedule the hearing due to the unique circumstances, which was accepted and not challenged by Deputy District Attorney John Friedmann. The new date of the hearing has yet to be determined.

As of Sept. 22, Washington County has a seven-day average of 46 coronavirus cases, 20 of which stem from the jail according to Jones. Fewell stated that the symptoms of the inmates infected are mild and last short periods of time, roughly three days. The mild effects of the infected allows for the jail lockdown period to end quickly and return to its typical functioning schedule.

"The mild effects of the infected allows for the jail lockdown period to end quickly and return to its typical functioning schedule."

For Carr, this means an in-person hearing and the ability to freely speak with Berkovich over the accusation of his involvement in the death of Antonio Nelson Martinez, who was shot and killed earlier this year at Jollick Manor Apartments in Washington. Martinez, 19, was from Tennessee, but was visiting Washington at the time of his death in July of 2022.


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