Springfield, IL - Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order Thursday temporarily pausing inmate transfers from county jails to state prisons during the statewide disaster proclamation. According to the order, the Illinois Department of Corrections Director is the only person with authority to make exceptions to this rule. County Sheriff's aren't happy. Members of the Illinois Sheriffs' Association say this policy puts every county across the state at a higher risk and jeopardizes the safety of inmates and correctional officers.
"In terms of being able to reduce the count they have in their facilities, not every jail has had that opportunity," said Jim Kaitschuk, Illinois Sheriffs' Association Executive Director. "And there are some that are full today and this is just going to make the problems that they have in their jails that much worse."
The group is asking Gov. Pritzker to re-evaluate this decision so they can safely transfer healthy individuals out of local correctional facilities to other appropriate locations. Meanwhile, the ACLU of Illinois says the executive order is a sensible decision to protect the health and well-being of individuals in prisons.
"This temporary measure permits IDOC to protect its present population, and be assured of sufficient supplies and tests to protect staff, the prisoners and the communities which house prisoners," Spokesman Ed Yohnka stated.
The ACLU says sheriffs should also follow guidance from the CDC and "significantly reduce their [prison] populations."