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Coronavirus and our McLean County Jail

Written by on March 23, 2020

Photo courtesy to McLean County Sheriff Office Facebook page 

MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill.- Across the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased exponentially with each passing day.

According the the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, everywhere across the United States, elected officials are taking unprecedented steps to protect the most vulnerable people in their communities and contain the spread of the virus.

However, in an effort to protect inmates in the McLean County Detention Facility, as well as staff and the general public from the current COVID 19 pandemic, Sheriff Jon Sandage announced there will be no more in-house visitation with inmates.

All visitations will need to be conducted from remote locations.

According to Black Lives Matter, jails and prisons are known to quickly spread contagious diseases.

“The only acceptable response to the threat of COVID-19 is decarceration. Today there are many folks incarcerated in the McLean County Jail awaiting trial and thus assumed innocent under the law. Their ongoing incarceration is an unacceptable risk to every incarcerated individual as well as public health,” said Black Lives Matter.

One of the steps that this chapter is asking Sandage to take is to immediately release individuals over the age of 50 or with compromised immune systems from McLean County Jail.

According to the chapter, research has shown that these individuals are at the highest risk for contracting and experiencing the most serious effects of COVID-19.

Black Lives Matter leader Olivia Butts said, “We are not asking for anything that isn’t already being done across the U.S.”

Butts and the chapter believe it is not a matter of if the Coronavirus infects the McLean County Jail, but when.

Sandage said, “We are extremely busy at this time, my efforts and time are being spent on protecting our staff, inmates and the citizens of McLean County and I do not have time to comment on a political agenda.”