Paris, IL. (ECWd) -
During today's Edgar County Board Meeting, the public was notified that the Edgar County Jail is effectively closing at the end of the month.
Citing the lack of any insurance coverage, the Edgar County Sheriff's Department will no long be able to house prisoners overnight in its jail. This will come at a cost to the county.
All other current operations within the building will continue, such as:
- ETSB (911) Operations
- Sheriff Office and operations
- Holding prisoners immediately prior to and immediately after court appearances
All other (overnight) prisoners will be housed in surrounding county jails.
As were reported on Sep 25th, Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust, Insurance Program Managers Group, declined coverage in a letter sent August 23, 2019, which states that effective December 1, 2019, the insurance company has a material change in coverage. Specificaly, “the premises and operations at the Edgar County Jail, located at 228 North Central, Paris, Illinois, is excluded for General Liability, Law Enforcement Liability, Property and Inland Marine Coverage”
Here is what was found/recommended:
- Complete re-write of policy – training on the new policy, and all jail practices must model the policy (meaning – work according to the written policy, otherwise they effectively is no policy)
- Avoid strip searches for minor crimes/traffic offenses
- Personnel who dispense medication should be trained to do so, and all medications should be vetted by medical personnel. There should be an on-call doctor to consult with on these issues and others.
- A mental health professional should be contracted with for regular periodical rounds of the jail and to consult with suicidal subjects
- An officer assigned as PREA coordinator to make sure inmates are informed of their rights under PREA, which reduces liability in cases of alleged sexual misconduct within the jail (remember this?)
- Use of Force should be immediately documents, reviewed, and a determination made of whether it was warranted or not, in writing
- Training must be consistent and conducted on a regular basis. All officers should be certified correctional officers with appropriate training, including part-time officers
- Internal Affairs – discipline investigations should not be conducted by the Sheriff because there would be no supervisor to review the findings
- Jail conditions – it is old and in need of upgrades. It was dirty and had trash and liquid on the ground
We suspect the County will soon be asking voters to approve a new tax referendum to build a new jail facility.