SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Sheriff’s Association announced on Thursday it had filed a lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Corrections for their refusal to accept transfers of parole violators or convicted individuals from jails across Illinois.

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The lawsuit is in response to on March 26, 2020, Gov. Pritzker unilaterally suspended all admissions to IDOC facilities in response to the global COVID-19 Pandemic. At the time, the leaders of IDOC said they needed time to prepare and install proper intake procedures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus from inmates transferred out of county jails. However, no such preparations have been made or implemented despite repeated discussions between members of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and IDOC.

This is a statement from the Illinois Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk.

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“Rather than working together with the Sheriff’s Association, Sheriffs have had to uphold the law while reducing the spread of COVID-19, IDOC has simply shut its doors. 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 are critical components to battling the spread of the virus. Jails continue to accept new arrestees and manage the spread of the virus simultaneously.

“Since March 26, IDOC officials have repeatedly denied requests from the Sheriff’s Offices to transfer individuals being held in jails across Illinois instead of a state-corrected facility simply because Gov. Pritzker and IDOC have denied to wall themselves off rather than work with their fellow law enforcement partners to address the issue.

“The task of safely housing detainees amid this unprecedented pandemic is challenge enough for Illinois Sheriffs without having to also shoulder IDOC’s responsibilities as well.”

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