Monroe County Jail inmates spend most of their time locked up in their cells.

Newly booked-in people who don't post bond or get released by a judge spend five days in isolation cells, a COVID-19 precaution the local jail hasn't lifted, although some others in the area have.

People housed in minimum- and medium-security cellblocks spend four of every 24 hours in the dayroom area outside their two-person cells. That's where they can make phone calls, socialize, watch TV, access showers and use video conferencing kiosks to visit with family.

The other 20 hours are spent behind solid metal doors with small glass panels, with a cellmate always an arm's-length away. Each cell has a bunk bed, a stainless steel toilet and sink, and a small table. Meals, delivered around 5 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. are served inside cells instead of at the tables out in the cellblock commons area. It's more efficient, jail commander Sam Crowe said.

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Cellblocks crowded with 32 men charged with different levels of felonies leads to increased incidents of threats, aggression and fights inside a deteriorating and understaffed jail, Crowe said. Hence, the 20-hour lockdowns, which Crowe said conform to state jail regulations regarding inmate care.

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