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COVID-19 takes a toll on the Warren County Jail

Already at capacity, it's now paying other facilities to hold county inmates because of the backlog of state prisoners.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Since the outbreak, the Warren County Jail has been housing state inmates. On October 7th, the last two state prisoners were transferred out of the Warren County Jail.  

Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards, says, "Its been very difficult to move people out."

With jury trials put on hold, Sheriff Edwards says, "We have people awaiting case dispositions and people awaiting transfer to the state."

The jail is overflowing. 

"We had sentenced people in March, July, April... we had them in our care the whole time."

The governor ordered all prison intakes to end back in March due to the pandemic. But on August 3rd, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) resumed prison transfers, in a bid to get prisoners out of county jails and into state prisons.

Sheriff Edwards says he simply cannot meet the Department of Corrections requirements, "A COVID test within 72-hours of the transfer, it also includes a 14-day quarantine of the inmate being transferred."

Here's the thing, 72-hour testing isn't available in Warren County. Sheriff Edwards says he's now paying Mercer County to hold inmates, "They have been taking our DOC sentenced inmates, they have the capability to run those tests."

A cost he deems, unnecessary. "Its a burden that's been placed on our local taxpayers." 

It costs taxpayers $40 a day for Mercer County to hold sentenced inmates, "Once they have been sentenced they should become an issue for the state to deal with."

Sheriff Edwards wants those already sentenced out, "We have to pay for every day they are incarcerated."

Sheriff Edwards says he wants the state to reimburse Warren County for the costs incurred while holding sentenced prisoners during the COVID-19 shutdown.

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