Civil Rights Group Alleges Jacksonville Prison Not Following COVID Restrictions

By Benjamin Cox on October 20, 2021 at 3:30pm

A human rights organization is claiming that Jacksonville Correctional Facility is not following proper COVID-19 protocols.

The Journal Courier reports that the Criminal Advocacy Program has received anonymous complaints that basic Covid precautions, like social distancing, aren’t being followed at the prison. A representative of the group is saying that prisoners are being housed in the dormitory-style setting with new inmates and inmates that have recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Illinois Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Lindsay Hess told the Journal Courier that there are five staff and 29 prisoners who have tested positive, but the facility hasn’t reported any new cases since Thursday. 90 people are currently under quarantine, according to Hess. The most recent COVID update from the Morgan County Health Department lists 22 cases under outbreak status at the prison.

This is the second outbreak at the prison, with the first happening in August of last year that involved 459 prisoners and 42 staff members by the time it ended.

Prisoners have been vaccinated against the virus. There is not a current percentage listed of staff at the prison who have been vaccinated. AFSCME is still working on negotiations about Governor J.B. Pritzker’s vaccine mandate. Other contractual staff at the prison have reached agreements and will soon have to have their first dose of vaccine by October 26th.

Hess told the Journal Courier that the prison has implemented its Incident Command Center and is using FEMA’s National Incident Command System model to stem the tide of the current outbreak.