Fourth Life Lost to COVID-19 in Cook County Jail

Yesterday, 64-year-old Karl Battiste died from COVID-19 while in the custody of the Cook County Jail. He had been incarcerated since January 2019 without bond. As of Sunday, April 19, 2020, 395 people incarcerated in Cook County Jail have contracted COVID-19.

It is impossible to know the real rate of infection inside Cook County Jail (CCJ) because testing is so limited, and many people with COVID-19 do not show any symptoms. We have long suspected that significantly more people in CCJ have COVID-19 and simply have not been tested. Last week, Marion prison in Ohio conducted mass testing and found that 75% of the incarcerated people tested positive for COVID-19. The reality is that jails and prisons are incubators for infectious diseases.

The only way to keep incarcerated people safe during this pandemic is to release them. Leaving thousands of people in the cramped, unsanitary confines of Cook County Jail will only lead to more deaths that could have been prevented. Please sign our petition calling on State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx to take further steps to decarcerate Cook County Jail. Then pick up the phone and call Cook County’s Chief Judge, Sheriff, and State’s Attorney to demand a mass release now!

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