Sheriff: Jail Population Reduced By 35%, Recidivism Down Since COVID-19 Pandemic

Sheriff: Jail Population Reduced By 35%, Recidivism Down Since COVID-19 Pandemic

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain issued a news release Thursday (June 25, 2020) that reports a 35% reduction of the jail population in March as well as the introduction of rehabilitation programs that Hain says has resulted in operational cost savings as well lower recidivism rates.

Hain said his goal had been to reduce the jail population by 20% over a two-year period, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process as officials took measures to stop the spread of the disease among inmates.

Kane County Sheriff’s Office staff shows the masks and equipment being used by personnel. (CREDIT: Kane County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the news release, the Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office and Chief Judge Clint Hull to reduce the jail population by almost 35% in the month of March, from the daily average of 490 to 332 at the lowest point.

The reduction was achieved by a combination of early releases or bond adjustments for jail residents held on non-violent crimes and signature bonds on new, non-violent arrests during the courts bond call process.

Hain said those measures, combined with the introduction of vocational and rehabilitative programs in the facility and “robust exit programming” has produced some startling results.

“While the community may be concerned about criminals being released after arrest, the data to this date tells a different story,” Hain said. “The Kane County Jail experienced recidivism rates as high as 60% pre-COVID. Analyzing the jails intake and release reports from March 13 to June 23, only 28 of the 1,000 people processed during that period came back into jail custody after their deferred or early release. That is a recidivism rate of 2%.”

A pre-COVID-19 view inside the Kane County jail. (CREDIT: Kane County Sheriff’s Office)

Hain said reduced jail populations bring savings to Kane County taxpayers. From March to the end of May, 2020, the jail saved $292,228 in operations cost due to the reduction in food and medical services, along with officer overtime that was no longer needed to staff a full facility.

To further support the new correctional and court environment, Hain said the Sheriff’s Office “has opened its electronic monitoring program to full-service capacity, as it was historically operated under Kane County Court Services before it was defunded in 2018.”

The Sheriff’s Diversion Programs are shifting to serve outside the facility with satellite locations for vocational training and job placement to help keep those with chronic criminal involvement from re-offending by offering professional opportunities.

The sheriff said the corrections center population remains COVID-free.

Feature Photo Caption

Corrections Officer Juan Meza at a cell block work station. The Sheriff’s Office has installed ionizers for health and safety. (CREDIT: Kane County Sheriff’s Office)

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SOURCE: Kane County Sheriff’s Office news release