Lee County Jail is refusing to take inmates in due to COVID-19 restrictions

Published: September 9, 2022 8:00 PM EDT
Updated: September 19, 2022 4:59 AM EDT

The Lee County Jail is refusing to take more inmates in due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The jail issued a memo to police departments saying it’s still operating under COVID-19 restrictions.

That means they will take suspects accused of violent felonies and DUIs.

A police officer who doesn’t want to be named said, “two and a half years almost, of basically going out doing our jobs, arresting people not knowing if they’re going to be accepted by the jail.”

The officer asked for his name to be withheld because he fears the consequences of speaking out against the Lee County Jail’s policy of not taking in every suspect arrested by Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Cape Coral police.

“It’s the same criminals over and over that puts, puts us in a difficult spot when dealing with them on the street because they know there’s no consequences for their actions,” the officer said.

When Cape Coral Police Department arrested a man for punching a coach during a brawl at Mariner High School, at the end of the report, there is a note saying:

Due to the Lee County Jail not accepting arrestees due to COVID-19 mitigation, Church was issued an NTA or notice to appear. And was released.

“They just told us that they’re not going to accept the person. Regardless of the charge, even if it’s a felony, they don’t provide a reason,” the officer said.

WINK News reached out to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to ask why the COVID-19 restrictions are still in place. LCSO refused to answer any questions.

The Collier County and Charlotte County jails are accepting all arrestees with no restrictions.