COOK COUNTY JAIL SET TO GO ON LOCKDOWN DUE TO STORM
Tuesday, February 1, 2011— Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has authorized a lockdown status at the Cook County Jail, effective at 3 p.m. today, due to the arrival of a massive winter storm.
The status – expected to last until 7 a.m. Thursday - means the jail will be limited to essential movement only and there will be no inmate visits allowed, except by requesting clergy or legal counsel. Dart is taking those steps to avoid anyone needlessly driving to the jail. Inmates who had visitation days scheduled for today and Wednesday have been permitted to contact family or friends who may have been en route, encouraging them to instead stay home.
The lockdown status will not impact a person’s ability to post bond on behalf of any detainee. Bonds will continue to be accepted at 26th and California until 9 p.m. tonight and will resume, as normal, at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Those detainees who have had a bond properly posted will be released as normal.
However, Dart has ordered that anyone leaving jail custody who has identified themselves as homeless or who has nowhere to stay be offered the opportunity to stay overnight in an empty, but secured, jail building, where cots are being set up. Dart is also creating separate on-site overnight housing for those corrections employees who are unable to leave at the end of their shift, by utilizing another empty jail building, if necessary.
Dart is also adjusting personnel to account for those employees who are unable to arrive at the jail to carry out their shift. Roughly 900 correctional officers work every shift, securing around 9,000 inmates and transporting 1,000 to court every day.
Staff from Aramark, which holds the jail’s food service contract, will also remain on site at the jail, serving dinner early today and ensuring proper delivery of all subsequent meals to all 11 jail buildings.