Winnebago County Jail to add two-bed cells to ease crunch – Rockford, IL – Rockford Register Star

Posted: December 26, 2010 by scaryhouse in IDOC, Local Issues, Uncategorized

ROCKFORD — More inmates will find themselves with roommates in the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center as the Sheriff’s Department aims to trim $2 million from its corrections budget while wrestling with a jail population that’s nearing 1,000.

The county bought 112 new jail beds for $4,553 on Nov. 23 at the request of Sheriff Dick Meyers. That weekend, the inmate population shot up to 991, the highest it has ever been.

Meyers said when the new beds are delivered and installed he’ll be able to move about 100 inmates from one-bed to two-bed cells. In turn, the jail could shutter two pods. If those pods remain closed for a year, the county could save $620,000 in correction officers’ salaries and overtime expenses.

Sally Claassen, county purchasing manager, said the beds should be delivered by the end of February. Installation costs should be minimal because even though many cells were equipped with a single bed, they were built to accommodate two if needed.

via Winnebago County Jail to add two-bed cells to ease crunch – Rockford, IL – Rockford Register Star.

  1. Tom L says:

    I found the comments to the online newspaper article interesting:


    Extra beds mean that the local police will just be quicker to throw someone in jail for a dumb reason. When this jail first opened the police were on a rampage trying to fill beds. Heres an idea to save money. Stop wasting your time throwing people in jail for traffic offenses that are harmless to others. Instead of throwing someone in jail for driving on a suspended just ticket them, impound there car and let them walk home. Or if someone gets caught with a small amount of marijuana, ticket them. More then half the jails population is marijuana and traffic offenses. Save the beds for violent offenders and felony charges.


    When the jail was built; the special tax was supposed to cover cost of operations, staff, and alternative programs. Now Winnebago County is even requesting INS contracts to house additional bodies to make money. Only reason the jail is overcrowded is as haroldjohn states, because the police, county, and SA insist in filling the jail with bodies regardless of whether they need to be imprisoned. In the past, the bodies could be passed along to IDOC. Now, IDOC is also bursting at the seams for the same reasons, and the bodies are piling up everywhere. We don’t need more space in prisons. We need rational action. We need people to do their jobs properly and only imprison those who are a threat to others or especially deserving of it. That is what the law says they are supposed to do! Neither we locally, or the state taxpayers can continue to afford to pay for the unjustified preference of prosecutors and courts for mass incarceration.


    Lets add more inmates for the understaffed Correctional Officers to oversee. This does not seem like a good alternative to me. If we are asking the officers to do more we should bring back the level of officers that we had before the layoffs happened. We are now asking the officers to watch more inmates with less officers. That does not seem like a good idea to me but I am only one person. Do we need another inmate lawsuit or can we just do the right thing for once County Board members.
    I have an idea how about the county board members fill in were there are stortages since there the ones who missused the 1 percent sales tax. Have them come in and work in the jail.
    They have used this money for things that it was not originally intended for. The bloggers are correct it was intended for three things, that is what the taxpayers were told when we voted on this tax increase.
    But as soon as the money came rolling in the departments that should not have have there hand out for a donation were first in line like are ‘honest’ States Attoney. Ask him how much money his department is receiving out of this sales tax.

    The three things that we the tax payers were informed this money was to be used for were:
    1. The Building the bricks and mortor.
    2. The staff for the Correctional Facility
    3. Programs for the inmates

    Yet now the County Board members are cutting the things that this money was originally intented. Lets cut were we are supposed to cut not the correctional officers or the jail programs. Lets cut where the money was not intensded to go. The County Board approved three new bailifs but they cant find money for the correctional officers. Quite bowing down to the judges.
    The 1 percent sales tax was not for the states attorney to staff his department while the jail is cutting. The circuit clerks office is paying for 16 court clerks yet there are only 4 court rooms in the justice center. This seems like over kill to me.

    The maintence department is paying for 14 employees which only 5 work out of the justice center.

    This and so much more information is on the Winnebaco county web site just take a look at the 2010 fiscal budget for the 1% sales tax. You will see that everything I have stated is the truth.

    The County Board has misused the 1% sales tax and now the Correctional Officers and the Sheriff’s department have to pay the price. The Jail has been mismanaged by the County Board!!!!!

    The Chairman likes to state do more with less.

    Just not in his department. Maybe its time to go back and not have a fulltime chairman. There’s a cut that we could make which there would be no harm. How many County Admiinistrators do we need?

    Just some ideas which I know no one for the County Board will ever sersiously look at, just some things to think about.


    belkin…you hit the nail on the head!


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