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Jail and Detention Standards Unit

The mission of the Jail and Detention Standards Unit (“Unit”) is to monitor compliance with Illinois County Jail Standards, Illinois Municipal Jail and Lockup Standards, and Federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.

The purpose of monitoring is to develop standardized practices in detention facilities that enhance the health and safety of the general public, detention staff and detainees. In addition, the Unit provides assistance and services to facilitate the development of those practices.

State statute [730 ILCS 5/3-15-2] established the Unit. The Unit is required to inspect each county jail on an annual basis [see 730 ILCS 5/3-15-3] for compliance with the County Jail Standards. Municipal lockups may be inspected for compliance with the Municipal Jail and Lockup Standards based upon various factors, including but not limited to: the size of the lockup; whether detainees stay overnight or over 24 hours; whether the lockup is a juvenile No-Hold facility; and upon request of the chief of police. The Unit, through the Director of the Department of Corrections, has the authority to refer facilities in serious noncompliance to the Illinois Attorney General to file a petition in the appropriate court for an order requiring such facility to comply with the established standards.

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (“IJJC”) provides oversight of Illinois’ compliance with federal mandates contained in the Federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. The Unit assists the IJJC by receiving Juvenile Monitoring Information System (“JMIS”) forms and other juvenile population reports and providing to the IJJC. Unit staff visits law enforcement facilities to ensure delinquent minors are being held in accordance with federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention policies and procedures. These visits can include preparation of a Juvenile Monitoring Compliance Report. Unit staff annually visits all law enforcement facilities that have been designated to detain youths; however, law enforcement facilities that have been designated to not detain youths are considered juvenile No-Hold facilities and only need to be visited once every three years rather than annually. County jails are still inspected annually even if a juvenile No-Hold facility. Approximately 1,100 municipal police and other law enforcement (park districts, railroads, colleges/universities, airports, hospitals, etc.) departments and 92 county jails are visited and/or inspected for compliance with federal secure juvenile detention requirements.

The Unit includes one unit manager, four criminal justice specialists (commonly known as jail inspectors) and one administrative assistant. The state is divided into four separate regions with a criminal justice specialist assigned to each region: Cook and collar counties with the office at Chicago Heights, north with the office at Dixon Correctional Center, central with the office at Springfield Central Office, and south with the office being at Big Muddy River Correctional Center. These specialists travel a minimum of three days each week to complete their job duties. There are 92 county jails in 102 counties in Illinois.

The criminal justice specialists conduct the on-site inspections of county jails and municipal lockups for compliance with standards. Additionally, follow-ups may be conducted upon unusual occurrences as well as consultations regarding detention operations, renovations, new construction and staffing recommendations. In the capacity of ombudsmen, Unit employees respond to citizen and detainee complaints relating to detention operations, civil rights and legal responsibilities.

The unit collects detainee population statistics monthly from county jails and quarterly from municipal lockups. A database is maintained for this information which is ultimately sent to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority on an annual basis.

County jails and municipal lockups may reach the Jail and Detention Standards Unit at 217.558.2200, extension 4212.