Illinois sheriffs sue Gov. Pritzker for shutting prisons to new inmates during COVID-19 pandemic

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Sheriff’s Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Corrections on Thursday for refusing to accept transfers of inmates from jails, over fears of spreading coronavirus.

The lawsuit says Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Corrections refused to accept transfers of parole violators or convicted individuals from jails across Illinois.

According to the lawsuit, the IDOC said it needed time to prepare and install procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but since then, no preparations have been implemented. This has had the effect of leaving jails with 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.”

The lawsuit alleges that the IDOC officials have denied requests for the transfer of inmates to its custody.

“Currently there are 100’s 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 lawsuit says.

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