The Morgan County Jail is not feeling the pinch yet.
The Illinois Department of Corrections stopped intake of new inmates over two weeks ago due to rising numbers of Covid-19. As of last week, 34 prisons in the state were on some form of lockdown status.
Morgan County Sheriff Mike Carmody says that locally, numbers at the jail have stayed below 50 so far: “As of Friday, we had 43 inmates all of which that were infected are off quarantine. We had one employee who is out with Covid, and one jailer who came back last Wednesday. It’s all actually going pretty well. We’ve gotten up into the 50s over the last couple of weeks, which does put a strain on staffing. Some of them have been released either by bond or by the courts.”
The Morgan County jail’s capacity is 65. Other area jails, like the Sangamon County Jail is getting back-logged with inmates sentenced to IDOC, which has placed them under some overcrowding concerns.
Carmody says that shuffling inmates between other county detention facilities hasn’t been discussed recently, but it’s something that he has prepared for when and if the time comes: “We really haven’t gotten to that point yet. It’s one of those things that you can think about and plan for, but there is no reason to discuss it until the time is necessary. The Sheriffs’ offices usually cooperate with each other. Sometimes there is an inmate that I can’t necessarily keep because he or she has knowledge of the layout of the place, so one of the other area sheriffs steps up in Sangamon, Pike, or Schuyler.”
Carmody says that policing in the county was at a point where I-bonds and notices to appear were issued for traffic offenses like driving with a suspended license for a short time. He says currently that deputies are back to regular routines of bookings for arrests when it’s necessary. He says warrant suspects will always be arrested and booked because the sheriff’s department doesn’t have the ability to quash warrants or issue notices to appear under a bench warrant.