* Center Square…
A Logan County Circuit Court judge handed Gov. J.B. Pritzker his latest loss in a challenge to the governor’s executive authority.
Judge Jonathan C. Wright ruled Monday morning that Pritzker’s order that temporarily halted county jails from moving prisoners to state-run facilities ran afoul of state law.
The Illinois Department of Corrections must accept an inmate within 14 days of a transfer, but Pritzker’s order struck that language for the duration of his emergency orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are about 36,000 inmates housed in IDOC facilities.
“The governor, nor the director of the [Department of Corrections], has independent discretion to determine what inmates they’re going to take or if they’re not going to take any,” said Jim Kaitschuck, director of the Illinois Sheriffs Association. “They just can’t have that unilateral ability to suspend or stop accepting inmates or parameters for who they would accept moving forward.”
He estimated there are about 2,000 inmates awaiting transfer to state facilities.
The ISA filed a lawsuit in late May, naming Pritzker, Illinois Department of Corrections Acting Director Rob Jeffreys, and wardens from four state prisons. The association sought not only to force the state prisons to accept transfers but also to compensate the counties for housing the inmates.
Attorneys representing the state requested a stay of the ruling while they ready an appeal. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, a hearing in the governor’s lawsuit against some school districts over the mask requirement has been postponed.
*** UPDATE *** This is why the state blocked those transfers…
Two more inmates and two employees have now tested positive for COVID-19 at the McLean County jail, Sheriff Jon Sandage said Monday.
The first positive case (an inmate awaiting transfer to a state prison) was announced last Wednesday.