How local jails are protecting staff and inmates

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Stateline jails are making substantial adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect both inmates and prison staff. They are releasing inmates who they deem to be non-violent and do not pose a threat to local communities.

As of now, neither Rock or Winnebago County jails have a confirmed case of COVID-19, but that’s not stopping them from taking preventative steps.

Winnebago County Jail has gone from housing over 700 inmates to 595 in just 15 days. Rock County Cheif Deputy Craig Strouse says they are taking the same precautions, having went from 415 inmates to under 250.

Rock County implemented a rotating schedule to prevent the possibility of a large number of employees getting sick.

“We split our command staff in half. Half work from home and half work here. We do it on a two week rotating basis, so our command staff can never all become sick at the same time, hopefully,” explained Deputy Strouse.

Visitors also aren’t allowed in the facilities, but they are arranging virtual visits.

“The inmates can stay connected to their families. Also GTL, our tablet provider is giving them, twice a week, 5 minute phone calls free to touch base with their families,” added Winnebago Coutny Sheriff Gary Caruana.

The jails are also monitoring temperatures of staff and constantly sanitizing everything. They also are separating new inmates from ones that have been there longer.

Both county sheriffs want the public to be ensured that no violent offenders are being let back on the street.

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