Legislators: health & safety concerns in State correctional centers must be fixed

State Representative Dan Swanson (74th District- Alpha) issued a public plea to Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Rob Jeffreys to address health and safety concerns of employees and the incarcerated in the wake of continued spread of COVID-19 through our state’s correctional centers on Tuesday.

“I have received a number of calls from IDOC employees concerned about their personal safety, the safety of their family, and the inmates at the correctional centers.  A “social distancing” plan has not been properly implemented throughout IDOC’s facilities.  The health and safety of the Centers’ employees and incarcerated rest on the Director’s shoulders— the staff need direction and leadership from the Director yesterday, not tomorrow,” Swanson said on Tuesday.

Reports are coming in, confidentially, to legislators that proper sanitation procedures are not being upheld at facilities, jeopardizing not only the health of the inmates, but also that of the employees and staff and their families they come home to each day.  Legislators from throughout Illinois have contacted IDOC and the Governor’s office about these concerns, but still, legislators keep hearing reports of improper protocols.  IDOC has not addressed these concerns adequately to date.

“We continue to hear the pleas for help from Correctional Officers at our DOC facilities.  They fear for their safety as well as the safety of their families and the incarcerated.  Their pleas have gone unanswered far too long as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout these facilities,” stated Representative Norine Hammond (93rd District-Macomb).  “Too many people have tested positive and even lost their lives because proper protocols are not in place.”

Rep. Swanson went on to urge the Director and Governor to take action, “please, many people are counting on you to get this right.  Please do not let them down.  Their very lives may depend on it!”