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As coronavirus spreads at Cook County Jail, hundreds are released

Friday, March 27, 2020
Injustice Watch
by Jonah Newman

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As coronavirus spreads at Cook County Jail, hundreds are released
By Jonah Newman

Health experts advise people to stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak and keep at least 6 feet distance from others. But there’s at least one place in Chicago where it’s pretty much impossible to practice social distancing: The Cook County Jail.

This week, as advocates had warned and worried about, the virus hit the jail, with at least 24 inmates and nine correctional staffers testing positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday night, according to the sheriff’s office. At the same time, the Cook County Public Defender and the State’s Attorney’s office argued in court Monday over the best way to quickly release detainees. A Cook County judge said decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis, and set up an expedited hearing schedule. As a result, 300 people were released from the jail on Monday and Tuesday, but another 180 were booked in. To help you stay on top of what’s happening in the jail, we’re tracking both the population and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. We’ll be updating the numbers every day. See our tracker here.

As the coronavirus spreads inside the Cook County jail, we’re tracking the number of confirmed cases and the population. We’ll be updating this tracker daily with new numbers from the sheriff’s office.

More from Injustice Watch

  • What questions (or story ideas) do you have about the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the criminal justice system? Fill out our survey here. We’ll use your answers to help shape our coverage of the ongoing crisis.



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