The mission of the Jail and Detention Standards 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 office provides assistance and services to facilitate the development of those practices.
State statute established the unit and directs that the office may inspect all county jails on an annual basis. Municipal lockups are inspected upon request of the chief of police. Jail and Detention Standards has the authority to refer facilities in serious noncompliance to the Illinois Attorney General for remediation. This authority has closed substandard facilities and stimulated new facility construction throughout Illinois.
The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission has awarded a grant to the unit to monitor federal requirements contained in the Federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. In fulfillment of the grant requirements, staff members monitor 1,100 municipal police departments and 92 county jails for compliance with federal secure juvenile detention requirements.
The Jail and Detention Standards Unit provides an adequate system of monitoring jails, lockups, and non-secure facilities to ensure delinquent minors are being held in accordance with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention policies and procedures. The potential to detain non-offenders and status offenders requires a specialized monitoring system. The criminal justice specialists annually visit law enforcement facilities to determine which facilities detain youths and which do not. Those that do not detain youths are considered No Hold facilities and only need to be visited every three years rather than annually.
The unit includes one unit manager, four criminal justice specialists 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 on-site inspections of county jails and municipal lockups for compliance with standards. Employees conduct follow-ups on unusual occurrences and provide 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 monthly detainee population statistics 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.