Morgan County Jail Inmates Staying COVID Free

By Benjamin Cox on September 24, 2020 at 8:23pm

Morgan County Sheriff Mike Carmody says that things have operationally been different with COVID-19, but everything is continuing to run smoothly with the prison population at the Morgan County Detention Facility

Carmody says that all tests for the virus have come back negative so far at the county jail. He says that all inmates transferred into the Illinois Department of Corrections have had negative tests: “Most of the time, when the inmates get sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections, they want them tested. We ended up renting a bus because we had so many waiting to [be transferred into IDOC], and we took 11 inmates to Graham Correctional Facility and they all tested negative. When people come in to [the Morgan County Jail] and they have a temperature, we try and isolate them as much as we can. Usually the testing goes through the Morgan County Health Department. Dale [Bainter] and his group are really a phenomenal group. We were getting our results back from them within 12 hours.”

Carmody says that procedures entering the jail are different. A bank teller machine accepts mail and correspondence at the front door during office hours. The public foyer in the front of the jail is closed to the public. All visits with inmates have to be scheduled with a phone call to the main gaoler during business hours. Legal counsel is continuing to visit with inmates in visitation booths.

Carmody says he has been working with other area law enforcement on housing prisoners outside of the normal cooperation Morgan County receives between Cass and Scott County’s sheriff’s departments: “We all kind of help each other out. I had a problem inmate and I called Sangamon County, and I said, ‘Hey would you mind watching this guy because he’s a problem for us?’ He was perfectly fine. He went to Sangamon County and it didn’t cost our sheriff’s office a dime. We currently have a Brown County inmate in our jail now. It’s just a case-by-case basis.”

Carmody says that despite being near capacity at over 40 inmates, his budget and operations have only gone slightly over what they normally are for this time of year. He says some outside-the-box thinking and some crucial relationships with other area law enforcement and local health entities like Passavant Area Hospital and the Morgan County Health Department has made what would be a difficult situation, work for everyone involved.