With little room to spare at Cook County Jail, Sheriff Tom Dart is seeking a court order to compel the state to take custody of inmates who had been housed at the jail since the coronavirus outbreak.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, which Dart is a member of, filed the motion Thursday in downstate Logan County asking a circuit court judge to approve a preliminary injunction that would order the state to accept inmates who are housed in county jails, but should be in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
These inmates — unlike detainees at the jail who are awaiting trial — have been convicted and sentenced.
Some of these inmates served their sentences but need to to be transferred to IDOC custody before their release. […]
Concerns voiced by Dart’s office and other sheriffs have been “met with silence” from state officials, [Dart spokesman Matthew Walberg] added. Governor and IDOC officials weren’t immediately available for comment Wednesday.
I get what the state is doing here, but at the very least, IDOC ought to accept inmates who have completed their sentences so they can be released.
* Meanwhile, speaking of the county jail, here’s Karen Sheley, Director, Police Practices Project, ACLU of Illinois…
[Chicago Police] Superintendent Brown’s announced plan to address gun violence during the long holiday weekend is more of the same. The plan to sweep up Black and Brown young men in their neighborhoods across the City could have been uttered by a number of his predecessors in leadership of the CPD. We have heard this all before—paternalistic claims that young men should be in jail for their own safety.
This approaches only further drive a wedge between the CPD and communities of color. The Superintendent again offers the dangerous suggestion that time in Cook County Jail is for these young people’s own good. This is a terrible idea in the best of times – in the midst of a pandemic, it could be a death sentence for these young men or members of their family on release.
The day after her husband died on Easter Sunday, Cassandra Greer-Lee’s emotions swung from shock to pain to confusion. She wondered whether she did everything she could to save Nickolas Lee from the rapid spread of coronavirus inside Cook County Jail.
She thought of the long stream of calls she had frantically dialed over the past few weeks as Cook County Jail rapidly cemented itself as the “largest-known source” of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Scrolling through her calls, the numbers ballooned from 60 to 70 to 90 to 100 to finally 132 calls made to the sheriff’s office, a jail sergeant’s desk line, the jail hospital and others to alert them to the spread of coronavirus on Lee’s tier—almost all were unanswered.
Lee was the third of seven detainees who have died after contracting the virus at Cook County Jail. Since then, almost 1,000 Cook County Jail employees and detainees have tested positive for COVID-19; two corrections officers and one court deputy have also died, according to WTTW. Like 98 percent of inmates at Cook County Jail, Lee was awaiting trial. He had been charged by the county for gun possession after violating federal parole.
* Pritzker’s coronavirus rules get under county sheriffs’ skin: “We work so hard to keep the jail population down,” said Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman. Pritzker’s order “has hindered our ability to be flexible.”
* Layoffs, tax hikes possible as Cook County braces for one-two punch of budget holes for this year and the next
* Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart ‘De-Deputizes’ Deputies Linked To Insults And Threats Toward Protesters