Prisoner rights groups blast state’s COVID-19 rate in jails

Thousands of Illinois inmates and jail employees have become sickened with COVID-19 since the pandemic’s start. The increase in recent months has alarmed prisoner rights advocates.

The Chicago Tribune reports at least 59 inmates have died from COVID-19 and nearly 10,000 inmates and staff members have become infected. Most infections are recent.

From March to early August, there were fewer than 700 known infections. The head of the Illinois Prison Project calls it an “absolute failure” by the state.

Illinois Department of Corrections officials have acknowledged the high number, which is partly blamed on more testing in jails.