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25% drop in Middlesex jail population since March 12

UPDATED, May 4: Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian has announced the population currently under supervision has dropped to below 600 individuals, a nearly 25-percent drop since mid-March.

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“On March 12, we had 787 people either sentenced or awaiting trial,” Koutoujian said in a May 4 news release.  “Today, we have 594.  This is a result of multiple processes we began back in early March to reduce our population in a safe and precise manner.  We have taken action – by tripling the number of individuals on electronic monitoring and by collaborating with District Attorney Marian Ryan to conduct bail reviews – to balance the public safety and public health needs of this unique moment.”

The drop in population has also been aided by a decline in new arrestees, scheduled releases for sentenced individuals, and the recent state Supreme Judicial Court ruling allowing pretrial individuals being held on certain charges to have their bail revisited.


As a result of this decline, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has also announced the temporary closure of a fourth dormitory-style housing unit.  On April 10 – following an initial 15-percent reduction in population – the office announced the temporary closure of three dormitory-style units. 

The drop in population and closure of the dorms, combined with other steps modifying movement within the facility has allowed for an enhancement of social-distancing practices within the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.

The office has also implemented the following steps:

In a statement April 7, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian said the steps taken by his office and its colleagues predated the recent ruling by the state Supreme Judicial Court in the case filed by the Committee for Public Counsel Services (SJC-12926) seeking to have individuals released from custody.

“Since mid-March, we have worked aggressively, both independently and with our public safety colleagues, to evaluate those in our custody for potential release. We have placed more sentenced individuals into the Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP), collaborated with District Attorney Marian Ryan and the judiciary to review individuals being held on bail, and made every effort to ensure court and medical appointments for our incarcerated population are being kept,” Koutoujian said.

“In fact, our staff made nearly 400 video and phone conferences for court appointments in just under three weeks. We are ensuring that our responsibility as a law enforcement agency – to both provide safety for the community and access to justice for those in our custody – is continuing to be met during this crisis.”

Evaluations for all forms of release – including EMP – have included an emphasis on elderly individuals and those with chronic health conditions as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This news announcement was published Tuesday, April 7, 2020, and updated May 4.

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