McHenry County jail to start housing inmates from Lake County

The one-year agreement was made from low staffing at Lake County jail

McHenry County Jail

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office have entered into an agreement for McHenry County jail to house up to 150 Lake County inmates.

McHenry County will start to receive inmates the week of Jan. 7, according to a McHenry County Sheriff news release.

The one-year agreement can be extended to up to two years, the sheriff’s office said. Lake County will pay $100 per inmate per day housed at the jail.

Lake County has been struggling with low staffing, Deputy Chief Chris Covelli said. The number of correctional officers is down almost 40%, with more than 70 positions unfilled.

That “has required our staff to be forced into working double shifts very frequently in order to maintain minimum staffing requirements, negatively impacting our staff’s quality of life and creating safety concerns at our jail,” Covelli wrote in an email to the Northwest Herald.

The average daily population at the McHenry County jail is about 160 inmates, Sheriff Robb Tadelman said.

Correctional administrations from both counties will conduct “regular operational reviews and assessments,” according to both sheriff’s offices. The agreement can be terminated and there are no mandates for a specific number of inmates.

McHenry County Corrections will transport the inmates to and from the jail for required court appearances, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said.

Tadelman and Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg entered into the agreement using an Illinois Sheriff’s statutory authority. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office created an intergovernmental agreement for the Lake County Board’s consideration, according to the release. But the agreement was never presented to the board since it was removed from the agenda “multiple times,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Due to the [proposed contract] being removed from several agendas, Sheriff Idleburg moved forward with an agreement between the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, as allowed by law,” according to the release.

Tadelman said in the release: “With the modern problems that law enforcement face, we are proud to consistently be part of a solution. We have worked hard with Sheriff Idleburg in addressing Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s needs, without jeopardizing the health and safety of our own employees and inmates. We are also understanding of the positive impact this agreement will provide to our office and county.”

Lake County has sent inmates to neighboring jails in the past, according to a Lake County Sheriff’s Office news release. The county previously sent inmates to the Boone County jail while the Lake County jail underwent renovations.

“It is the goal of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to increase correctional officer staffing levels and return the temporarily housed inmates to Lake County as quickly as possible,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

Lake County inmates will be able to meet with attorneys virtually and privately via Zoom, in person or by telephone. Inmates will be able to communicate with anyone, unless restricted by the court.

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