ISA files lawsuit against Gov. Pritzker, IDOC
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois DOC for refusing to accept transfers of parole violators and convicts from jails across the state on Thursday afternoon.
On March 26, Gov. Pritzker suspended all admissions to IDOC facilities in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, the leaders at IDOC said they needed time to prepare and install proper intake procedures to reduce the spread of the virus from inmates transferred out of county jails, according to the ISA.
No preparations have been made or implemented, despite repeated discussions between members of the ISA and IDOC, according to the ISA. Rather than working together with the sheriffs to find ways to uphold the law while reducing the spread of COVID-19, IDOC has simply shut its doors, according to the ISA.
"This has left the Sheriffs to bear not only the burden of protecting their detainees and county-sentenced inmates from the threat of the virus, but also those who rightfully should be in the custody of IDOC at a time when space and inmate population are critical components to battling the spread of the virus. Jails continue to accept new arrestees and manage the spread of the virus simultaneously," according to the ISA.
Since March 26, IDOC officials have denied requests from sheriff’s offices to transfer individuals to the agency’s custody.
"Currently there are hundreds of individuals being held in jails across Illinois instead of a state correctional facility simply because Gov. Pritzker and IDOC have decided to wall themselves off rather than work with their fellow law enforcement partners to address the issue," the ISA said.
The ISA claims the task of safely housing detainees amid the COVID-19 pandemic is already enough of a challenge for Illinois sheriffs without having to take on the responsibilities of the IDOC as well.