Call-In to Protect Public Health through Decarceration

CALL THE COOK COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY & CHIEF JUDGE AND DEMAND THEY DECARCERATE IN THE NAME OF PUBLIC HEALTH!

We are asking residents of Cook County to call the Chief Judge and the Sheriff’s Office in support of the demands made by more than 70 advocacy, community, and legal organizations. We are demanding that Cook County leadership take bold action to respond to the thread of COVID-19 by getting people out of jail, stopping new admissions to the jail, loosening movement restrictions for people on electronic monitoring, and increasing access to phones, video “visits” and hygiene and cleaning supplies for anyone who remains incarcerated during the pandemic. You can read our full list of demands here: bit.ly/cookcountyjailcovid19

CALL THE COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND CHIEF JUDGE AND DEMAND THEY DECARCERATE IN THE NAME OF PUBLIC HEALTH! READ THE SCRIPT:  CLICK HERE

People incarcerated in jail are one of the populations most vulnerable to coronavirus and COVID-19, and their protection warrants special emergency action. Jails and prisons are known to quickly spread contagious diseases. Incarcerated people have an inherently limited ability to fight the spread of infectious disease since they are confined in close quarters and unable to avoid contact with people who may have been exposed. Responses such as lock downs, placing people in solitary confinement and limiting access to visits from loved ones are punitive and ineffective responses to outbreaks. Importantly, we know that isolation further endangers people and limiting visitation also has adverse effects.

The only acceptable response to the threat of COVID-19 is decarceration. Today there are more than 5,500 people incarcerated in Cook County Jail (CCJ). Almost all of them are still awaiting trial and thus presumed innocent under the law. There are an additional 2,400 people incarcerated in their homes 24/7 under the Sheriff’s electronic monitoring (EM). In general, people on Sheriff’s EM are unable to leave their homes to go grocery shopping or buy other supplies or to attend medical appointments without hard-to-obtain written appointment confirmations. The ongoing incarceration of all these people is an unacceptable risk to every incarcerated individual as well as public health.

CALL THE COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND CHIEF JUDGE AND DEMAND THEY DECARCERATE IN THE NAME OF PUBLIC HEALTH! 

Sample Script:

Office of the Chief Judge

Phone: (312) 603-6000

Email:timothy.evans@cookcountyil.gov

“Hi, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the Cook County Chief Judge take steps to dramatically lower the number of people in jail in response to COVID-19. This means facilitating bond review hearings for people currently in jail and instructing judges not to admit new people to the jail. In addition, the Chief Judge should ensure everyone in the Pretrial Services home confinement unit has permission to leave their homes and is not on 24 hour curfew during the pandemic.”

State’s Attorney Office

Phone number: (312) 603-1880

Email: statesattorney@cookcountyil.gov

Hi, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the Cook County State’s Attorney Office take steps to dramatically lower the number of people in jail in response to COVID-19. This means declining to prosecute most cases, not filing new violations of bond or probation conditions, and instructing line prosecutors to support release of people currently detained pretrial in Cook County Jail in bond hearings.

Sheriff’s Office

Phone number: (312) 603-6444

Email: CCSO@cookcountyil.gov

“Hi, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office take steps to dramatically lower the number of people in jail in response to COVID-19. In addition, the Sheriff should loosen movement restrictions for people on electronic monitoring and improve access to phones, video “visitation,” and and make sanitation, hygiene and cleaning supplies available free of charge to anyone that remains incarcerated during the pandemic.”

If they tell you they can’t help:

“We are in a moment of crisis and need all county officials to do everything in their power to keep people safe. Incarcerated people are among the most vulnerable during this pandemic, we need you to do everything in your power to meet these demands, whether that’s taking unprecedented action or working with other county stakeholders.” 

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