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Coronavirus

Virus changes practices in La Crosse courts and jail

Brad Williams

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The La Crosse County jail is conducting its own type of ‘social distancing’ to keep inmates and staff members safe from Covid-19. 

Sheriff Jeff Wolf said there are limits on who can come to the jail, and where the prisoners can be.

“We stopped all programming which involved inmate contact with each other, allowing for more social distancing,” Wolf said. “(We’ve) limited professional visits.

The sheriff added that there have been no reports of the infection among prisoners anywhere in the U.S. at this time. 

But, if someone in the La Crosse jail were to show symptoms, the sheriff said a quarantine could be done within the jail.

More prisoners in the La Crosse County jail could appear before judges by video link, instead of being brought to a courtroom. 

The county court system has imposed emergency measures to reduce possible exposure to the coronavirus by people with court business. 

For initial appearances in La Crosse County, no more than six inmates will be brought to a courtroom at one time, and some prisoners will be able to make video appearances from the jail.

Many hearings will be postponed until after May 1.

The La Crosse courthouse remains open for business, but the Winona Law Enforcement Center has closed itself to the general public for now.    

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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