Illinois prisons pause inmate intake from county jails because of COVID-19 surge

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FILE: Generic jail/prison corridor (Photo credit: Getty)

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is temporarily pausing intakes from county jails as it responds to COVID-19 outbreaks at correctional facilities

The facilities include the Graham, Logan, Menard and Northern Reception and Classification Centers where county jails transport new admissions. County sheriffs were notified Tuesday afternoon as part of IDOC’s continued commitment to provide them with frequent, transparent communication, a news release says.

The IDOC is using space normally reserved for new admissions to safely quarantine and isolate incarcerated people who have been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19. The Department will continue to accept people from county jails who are scheduled to be released from custody the same day they are transferred.

Individual requests for intakes because of special circumstances, such as medical or safety concerns, will be considered. When COVID-19 cases decline, IDOC expects space to become available for county jail intakes, the release says.

“Congregate living facilities present unique infection control challenges due to the lack of quarantine and isolation space,” said IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys. “The Department recognizes the hardships county jails face when we cannot accept admissions, but we must take aggressive action to keep the community and everyone who lives and works in our facilities safe and healthy,”

IDOC continues its “aggressive response to COVID-19 across facilities.” All staff and people in custody are temperature checked, masked, symptom-screened and routinely tested. Currently 75% of the incarcerated population and 66% of staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Additionally, thousands of individuals in custody and staff have taken advantage of multiple on-site opportunities to receive a booster shot. IDOC continues to work closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health, infectious disease consultants, and correctional agencies across the nation to ensure best practices and protect the health and safety of those inside its facilities, the release says.

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