Below is a letter I sent to DOC Director Rob Jeffrey’s concerning protocols and precautions in place at DOC facilities during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
April 2, 2020
Mr. Rob Jeffreys, Acting Director
Illinois Department of Corrections
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601
As residents, hospitals and businesses throughout Illinois do their part to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, I wanted to take this time to commend you and your staff for the hard work you do each and every day to keep our communities safe.
Every facet of state government has been impacted by these historic events, and our caucus has worked tirelessly to provide our communities with the information they need to ensure they and their loved ones remain health and safe. This is true of our hard-working men and women who work within our corrections facilities throughout Illinois. I had hoped to have you participate in a conference call with our caucus, which would provide an opportunity to have those questions our constituents have brought to us answered.
In lieu of that call, I do have some questions that we ask you provided answers in writing.
When did DOC take steps to stop the transfer of prisoners, lock down their facilities, close inmate gyms and prohibit visitation privileges of groups 10 or more? When were these procedures first discussed and when were they eventually implemented?
Has DOC fully complied with all directives that have been issued by the Governor’s office?
What precautions are being undertaken within Illinois correctional facilities to maintain the proper social-distancing recommended by health care officials?
What Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was available to corrections staff before this crisis, what’s available now and how long will that supply last?
What precautions and plans were put in place by DOC to care for inmates after contracting COVID-19, and what procedures were developed to determine where they would receive care?
What planning has DOC undertaken to care for inmates in off-site medical encampments that will ensure they receive the proper care without overwhelming our downstate hospitals?
I know these are unprecedented times, requiring extraordinary measure. However, it is my hope that any policy and health decisions made within the Department of Corrections is made solely by department personnel and health care officials. Furthermore, I trust these decisions are being made with the health of both the inmate and community in mind.
State Senator for the 59th District