Archive for the ‘IL Dept of Corrections and Coronavirus’ Category


As one Public Defender says in the article below, things have to be pretty bad
inside the County County Jail for inmates to rally together. Supporters have 
demonstrated outside the and the jail is under some court scrutiny but a lot 
more has to happen to cause the Federal court to order more jail releases.

The recent inmate attack at the jail highlights some flaws and lack of security
showing how even the jail guards in the maximum security unit are physically
vulnerable and short-staffed. That situation cannot safely continue during this
Covid-19 emergency.
Cook County Jail inmates begin refusing food over COVID-19, sheriff forwards their petition for better treatment to judge

“…inmates on three tiers in Division 11, and one tier in Division 10, have intermittently refused their food trays for a couple of days at a time in recent weeks, a statement from the sheriff’s office confirmed.

But it would be “reckless and inaccurate” to describe that as a hunger strike, sheriff’s officials said, noting that the detainees were eating food from the commissary instead and jail procedures define “hunger strike” as abstaining from food altogether.

Still, the sheriff’s officials confirmed they have forwarded a petition from the inmates, who requested their demands be reviewed by a judge.

Among their demands: release on bond, increased access to calls with family, cleaner conditions and a reopening of the courthouse so their cases could be heard more quickly. Thurman said he realizes the chances are slim that a murder defendant gets released on bond pending trial, so they were sure to make additional requests.

“(Refusing food) was based on trying to get us something, because of the fact they said we are violent criminals and cannot leave Cook County,” he said.

The jail has become a hot spot for the virus and a hot spot of controversy. Authorities have scrambled to release detainees in recent weeks in the hope of stemming the disease’s spread, with a focus on those facing nonviolent charges…”


While Covid-19 strikes jails and prisons, there is NO way authorities will be able to maintain sufficient staffing over time. Vulnerabilities and incidents such as this will continue as long as the jail keeps holding on to everyone instead of letting the non-violent out so there is enough staffing to keep violent inmates in order.

Had this pod been single-celled too, there could have been less injury.This shows both jail understaffing and poor logistical planning. Why was there only ONE guard on the catwalk and seemingly in the max pod at the start of the incident, and why was there no water in the cell to begin with given the guard is passing out food? Usually max pods have two officers to let inmates in and out of their cells. The officer’s physical position by the open door is innately vulnerable given the layout of the catwalk in relation to its staircase. The guard’s actions and movements before the attack are far too sloppy and unguarded. They left him vulnerable to attack not only by the inmate but the other door he unlocks while the inmate is freely moving around downstairs and unmonitored. With 2 officers it would not have involved soap because water should have been brought to the cell; not the inmate to the water.

This shows how the job of caring for inmates can render guards vulnerable and contradicts with their jobs and training to keep order. Guards aren’t used to having to do the amount of direct care and contact with inmates as they have to do with Covid-19 right now. When guards have to do something new they ordinarily don’t do and in ways they don’t normally have to do them; it wreaks havoc with the established methods in place that they already know how to follow in order to do their jobs safely.

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VIDEO: Cook County Jail inmate attacks guards, steals keys, releases other prisoners