What You Might Not Know About the Winn. Co. Jail

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Many people seem to think life in jail is comfortable: there's no rent to pay, you can exercise all day and watch TV. However, there's a lot about prison that people don't realize.

Winnebago County Sheriff Meyers said, "There are no bars on the cells. There's no weight room and there's no basketball court. When someone comes to visit them they can't see them in person, they can only see their face through a television screen."

The Winnebago County Jail is state-of-the-art and it was designed to change things.

Meyers said, "Under the old system the person that ran the pod was the strongest inmate in there." and if the strongest guy didn't want to get his GED, you couldn't either. People were afraid to sign up because when the guard wasn't around they'd have to answer to this guy."

Now a corrections officer is the strongest guy in the room 24 hours a day. GED numbers are up and inmate assaults are down by 60 percent.

Meyers said, “There could be sexual assaults going on and when we'd go in to check it would stop before we got there because they'd hear you coming."

Because of the new jail's design that hardly happens anymore. Cells are made of cement, bunk beds are made of steel, and there are no pillows or sheets. There’s just an itchy flannel army blanket. hey wash their own underwear and pay for the cable. For exercise they are allowed to walk around for an hour each day in a small room. As for conjugal visits, there’s no such thing.

One other thing we found out: the jail has no cleaning staff. Inmates do all the cleaning themselves. They cook all the food and wash all their own clothes.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:56 AM
    Linda you are out of touch, Judge your comment makes no sense, Kitty really??? worried about the cost of a basketball, Art you must gave led a sheltered life. All of you might have one microscopic brain cell to come up with these thoughts together.
  • by Linda Location: Rockford on Nov 26, 2011 at 04:47 AM
    I'm not sympathetic to people in county jail, but guilty or not most of the people in there will eventually be free again. If they turn into worse animals there, theres no hope for them on the outside--and that affects everyone. On the other hand, if it's such a bad place why do people keep doing their best to go back there????
  • by Impressed Location: Rockford on Nov 25, 2011 at 07:38 PM
    Sounds just about how it should be, NO CAKE WALK!!! The only Problem I see is that THEY SHOULDN"T EVEN BE ALLOWED TO HAVE CABLE OR TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Why should we pay for life for them to be even slightly comfortable!!!!!
    • reply
      by read up on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM in reply to Impressed
      the people are the ones who are funding bailouts and things of that nature. that should be the least of ya worries. read up.
  • by judge Location: pecatonica on Nov 25, 2011 at 06:31 PM
    The county is corrupt an it won't stop until some city officials who hav been running this county in the dirt are removed whether it be imprisoned or just plain step down
  • by states attorney Location: dekalb on Nov 25, 2011 at 06:28 PM
    Their running that place like Hitler ran his camp where are the feds when u need them remember everyone n jail isn't guilty
    • reply
      by Learn To Spell! on Nov 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to states attorney
      "They're" or "They are"; "you"; and "no"
      • reply
        by Dave on Nov 28, 2011 at 06:59 AM in reply to Learn To Spell!
        Thats funny stuff learn to spell. I am guessing this is our real States Attorney as she does not seem to smart.
    • reply
      by really tho on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:55 AM in reply to states attorney
      you dont want the feds involved.
  • by kitty Location: rockford on Nov 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM
    Carol, that is what pushups, situps, leglifts, lunges, jumping jacks, and running in place are for...why should I, the taxpayer, pay for him to play basketball???
    • reply
      by Carol on Nov 25, 2011 at 07:38 PM in reply to kitty
      Its hard to have room to exercise in an overcrowded jail.
  • by Art Location: Machesney Park on Nov 25, 2011 at 04:00 PM
    Or, they could rot in jail with no rights. The same mentality that got them there in the first place.
  • by Carol Location: Rockford on Nov 25, 2011 at 03:23 PM
    When I went ona tour of the Jail before it opened there was an area to play basketball. If inmates are not allowed to exercise as they are in prison, it is not good. Lots of unreleased energy that could lead to trouble. I don't think they need a Gym but they need to exercise and get rid of tensions in a good way.
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