HILLSBORO, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Department of Corrections and and the Logan County Sheriff's Office butted heads Wednesday as Logan County was attempting to transfer inmates to the state-run Graham Correctional Center.
On August 3, IDOC was ordered to accept all persons committed to them.
A total of 14 inmates were to be transferred, seven Tuesday and seven Wednesday.
The first transfer went off without a hitch. Seven inmates were taken in. The process took about 30 minutes.
Wednesday was a different story. Logan County officials said when they arrived with the seven other inmates at 8:15 a.m., the intake process had been changed.
Logan County officials said their sheriff's office transport vehicle sat stationary until 2 p.m. Then, IDOC nursing staff started the check the inmates.
During the process, the inmates were taken inside the receiving facility and their incarceration orders were accepted by IDOC personnel.
Officials said documentation was signed showing the inmates had been accepted by IDOC.
However, at 6 p.m., IDOC personnel walked all seven inmates out of the facility, stating one of them had tested positive for COVID-19 and they were not going to accept any of them.
Logan County officials said IDOC officials initially were not telling them which inmate tested positive, but later said two had actually tested positive for the virus. IDOC did then identify the virus-positive inmates for Logan County.
Logan County said IDOC has not provided any documentation concerning the inmates who tested positive or told them what type of tests were administered.
IDOC told WAND News the inmates were administered the Abbott rapid tests.
All seven inmates were returned to the Logan County Jail.
The sheriff and Logan County Health Department are working to get all of the transport staff and other inmates tested for COVID-19 and taking preventative measures to ensure the virus does not spread further at their facility.
IDOC sent WAND a statement regarding its transfer policy stating:
"We have been closely monitoring other state prison systems where there have been major COVID-19 outbreaks due to offender transfers. The Department learned from their experiences and have developed strict guidelines to prepare for the resumption of intra-agency transports and new admissions. Monday's ruling will make it significantly more difficult for IDOC to follow these guidelines going forward. As of Tuesday, despite this ruling, IDOC is making every effort to follow the guidelines as closely as possible to ensure the health and safety of staff, the incarcerated population, and the surrounding community. The Department, with the assistance of IDPH, is testing all new admissions and appropriately quarantining them upon arrival. Preventing the spread of infection is our top priority as we continue to aggressively response to COVID-19."
The Logan County Sheriff filed suit against Governor JB Prtizker and IDOC for failing to take inmates that have been sentenced to their custody.