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Gov. Pritzker lifts ban on inmate prison transfers in new Executive Order

SPRINGFIELD (HOI) -- The Illinois Department of Corrections will begin transferring inmates to prisons now for the first time in nearly four months.

IDOC has been refusing to take any new convicted felons after a mandate from Gov. Pritzker which stalled the process unless they met specific health criteria from the state.

The guidelines were handed down during his first Executive Order at the end of March during the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

That decision was reversed Monday, July 27th when the Governor signed Executive Order 50 which replaced Executive Order 3.

The order however will be executed at the discretion of the Illinois Department of Corrections Director.

IDOC has faced heat because of their prior stance, blocking new inmates, and responded weeks ago by issuing a statement explaining they "remain focused on responding, mitigating and controlling COVID-19 to protect those who live and work in {their} facilities. Due to the pending litigation, no further comment can be provided."

That pending litigation, refers to a lawsuit filed in late May by the Illinois Sheriffs' Association, who said the Governor overstepped his authorities by ignoring Illinois statute which mandates all convicts be transferred from county jails within 14 days of sentencing.

The Association also argued that local counties and jails have been shouldering the financial burden of COVID-19; a responsibility that would otherwise be handled by IDOC.

Friday ISA shared a statement in response to the new Executive Order saying 

“Sheriffs support the rule of law and believe the state’s criminal justice system must function as it is designed, even in these challenging times. Governor Pritzker’s policies are overcrowding and overwhelming the capacity of local Sheriffs. The recent order is cooperation in name only. We should be in this together, but nothing could be further from the truth. The administration is forcing local Sheriffs and their taxpayers to bear the entire burden for the State’s Department of Corrections abdicating their responsibility under the guise of the pandemic. This cat and mouse game must stop, we need real coordination and a realistic plan.”

Illinois Sheriffs' Association

Sheridan Swathwood

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