The discovery of baggies containing suspected heroin and fentanyl residue has prompted another organized shakedown of the Kane County Jail, a review of anti-contraband procedures and other jail policy changes.
According to a Wednesday (Jan. 23, 2019) news release, the Sheriff’s Office experienced the smuggling of 18 total baggies of suspected heroin, some containing fentanyl, into the main housing units of the jail during a period between Jan. 12 and Jan. 22.
The first incident — on Jan. 12 — began with the discovery of two small bags of heroin on inmate Jose Charles, 24, of the 600 block of Forest Ave., Elgin during a routine search, the news release said.
A subsequent shakedown confined to Charles’ jail pod yielded no additional contraband. Charles was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class 4 felony.
On Jan. 21, a female inmate was discovered to be in possession of nine small bags containing suspected heroin and fentanyl residue while housed in general jail population since Jan. 18.
The release said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain called for an organized shakedown of multiple jail housing units pursuant to the second discovery of suspected heroin, and as part of the continuing effort to establish a new direction for the Corrections Center.
During the shakedown on Jan. 22, a second female inmate was found to be in possession of seven small bags containing suspected heroin residue.
The substances seized on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 required additional laboratory testing and weighing before formal criminal charges can be filed, the Sheriff’s Office said. A total of three housing units containing 159 inmates were shaken down on Jan. 22 and no additional contraband was recovered.
The Sheriff’s Office is reviewing policy and procedures as an initial step to preventing the occurrence of contraband in the facility.
Hain said he is also researching the acquisition of a body scanner for non-intrusive examination of all people entering the jail facility as a catch-all for contraband prevention.
In the news release, Hain announced the recruitment of inmates into various diversion program classes, to include OSHA/forklift certification, small-business startup, CDL training, English as a second language, and professional painting. Those classes are “in full swing,” the release said.
The Sheriff’s Office is also introducing a new computer tablet program for inmates, which it says will greatly increase the availability to inmates while saving taxpayer dollars.
Hain said the Sheriff’s Office will end the present use of 80 tablets that costs the Sheriff’s Office about $3,600 per month. That program will be replaced with one that will bring 480 tablets to the jail that will be financed from income the Sheriff’s Office charges for inmate phone calls.
The 480 tablets will be used for educational purposes to supplement the new diversion programs, Hain said.
Hain said he is working with the jail’s food service to provide a better rotation of meals and meal quality, while maintaining the existing price contract.
“I will continue to invest in our jail living conditions, safety of our officers, and a new life pathway for our inmate population in effort to maintain an efficient and secure facility with an unrelenting focus on driving down recidivism,” he said.
SOURCE: Kane County Sheriff’s Office news release