Peoria County Jail Adjusts Procedures in the Wake of COVID-19

Mar 23, 2020

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said he's working to reduce the number of inmates in close quarters at the jail in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is discretionary, no different than before. So the officer managing the call still has discretion how to handle it. Whether someone needs to go to jail. We're just asking, you know, law enforcement...I guess the best way to describe it is less is better coming into the facility."

He said the bail reform act passed last year allows officers to treat non-violent and violent offenders differently in terms of incarceration.

The sheriff said the Peoria County Jail is currently taking in seven to 11 inmates a day, significantly fewer than before the coronavirus crisis broke out.

Asbell said all incoming inmates are being screened for any outward symptoms of illness by jail and medical staff. Those with signs are being placed into a quarantine status. At Sunday's special Peoria County Board meeting, Asbell said via teleconference that two people with elevated symptoms were released from custody.

The jail has three quarantine levels, varying from isolation in a pod to transferring the inmate for additional care in the infirmary or off-site.

Most programs and public access to the jail are currently suspended.

Peoria City/County Health Department administrator Monica Hendrickson said the jail is considered a "congregate living facility" - and thus, a high priority for testing.