Inmate fights down at Kane County jail, internal report shows

Inmate fights down at Kane County jail, internal report shows

  • Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain

    Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain

 
 
Posted3/2/2020 5:30 AM

Since taking office in December 2018, Sheriff Ron Hain has sought to shift the Kane County jail culture from punitive to rehabilitative by offering detainees job training and work programs, and initial support for addiction recovery and mental health issues.

Hain even spent a few nights in the jail to get a firsthand experience of the cellblock conditions and cafeteria food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Now, he says he has the numbers to show the benefits that they changes have created.

His office's annual report provides an overview on designating two jail pods for inmates with addictions and mental health needs, and a drop in inmate fights and fatal overdoses after being released from custody.

"The most important thing that we did was truly begin to address and attempt to cure addiction issues among the incarcerated," Hain said, noting that counseling and programming is aimed at changing behavior. "When they get out, that can have an immediate impact on jail safety and it's going to have an increase in public safety when they return to their communities."

According to the report, fights between inmates declined 36% from 80 in 2018 to 51 in 2019; in 2017, there were 69 inmate fights. Inmate attacks on guards fell from 18 in 2017 and 12 in 2018 to three in 2019, a dip of 83%, according to the report.

Hain acknowledged the actual 2019 number was eight -- Fabian Torres, currently held without bail in a Sleepy Hollow 2019 home invasion, attempted murder and rape case, was charged with felonies in five of those attacks on guards.

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Clint Hull, a former Kane County prosecutor who now serves a chief judge in Kane County, praised the efforts to focus on rehabilitation.

"I applaud Sheriff Hain for his approach and innovations on finding ways to allow inmates to use their time in jail to improve themselves through programs to address the behaviors that resulted in their incarceration, such as alcohol, drugs, mental health, decision-making, and to learn job skills to help them gain employment upon release," Hull said. "Those same programs have resulted in a sharp decrease in inmate-on-staff violence and inmate-on-inmate violence. As a result, the jail is a safer place for staff, which is something that is always a priority for everyone."

The number of inmates who were released from jail and later died of drug overdoses also has fallen sharply -- from 11 in 2017 and 15 in 2018 to just two in 2019, according to the report. Hain said those two people were at the jail only a short time.

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