Over 2,500 People Call on Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx to Enact Policies to Prevent Increased Admissions to Cook County Jail
Today, Chicago Community Bond Fund delivered a petition signed by more than 2,500 people calling on Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx to implement four specific policies in response to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 in Cook County Jail. These measures are designed to maintain or further decrease the current number of people in the jail, which has already risen by nearly 500 people since its low point in May 2020. Any increase in the number of people in Cook County Jail increases the risks to the health and safety of everyone incarcerated as it makes social distancing, cleaning, and hygiene measures more difficult. You can read our letter here.
After weeks of pressure from community organizations beginning in mid-March, the number of people incarcerated in Cook County Jail was reduced by nearly 1,500, from 5,500 to almost 4,000. Since that reduction took place, however, thousands of people have been admitted to the jail and the daily number of people in jail recently passed 4,500. A recent study found that one in six COVID-19 cases in Cook County stemmed from Cook County Jail. As long as the novel coronavirus remains a threat, reducing the number of people incarcerated in the jail is of the utmost importance to protect public health. These policy changes would prevent the number of people in jail from increasing over the summer.
The petition calls for State’s Attorney Foxx to:
- Decline to file new charges in cases that do not involve danger to a specific person;
- Agree to release most people seeking bond reviews from custody without payment of money;
- Immediately dismiss all pending misdemeanors and class 4 felony cases not involving danger to a specific person, starting with cases in which people are in jail; and
- Cease filing violations of probation and violations of bail bonds for technical violations or reasons not involving danger to a specific person.
As Illinois begins to re-open, jails, prisons and detention centers remain extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19. Without the stay-at-home order in place, staff coming in and out of these facilities will experience an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 within their communities. This increases the likelihood of them bringing the virus into carceral facilities. Until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, CCBF and our partners are committed to advocating for decarceration to save lives.