Open Letter to Cook County States Attorney Kimberly Foxx -- COVID 19
Dear State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx,

We are writing to ask you to take swift action that only your office can take to prevent unnecessary deaths and overtaxing of medical resources in the coming weeks. State’s Attorneys have the unique power to revest a court with the ability to give an individual a new sentence.

It is virtually impossible for people in prison to protect themselves. COVID-19 is almost certain to infect a significant proportion of incarcerated persons, correctional officers, and other employees. Of those infected with COVID-19, 15-20% will become critically ill and require intensive medical intervention.

There are reports that as of March 16, there is a suspected case of Covid-19 in Stateville Correctional Center.  Stateville houses the Northern Reception and Classification Center (NRC), IDOC’s clearing house for prison admissions. Given NRC’s role, most people pass through Stateville on their way to a permanent facility. The possible presence of Covid 19 at Stateville changes this situation from a potential threat to an ongoing crisis.

A full twenty percent—8,000 people—of the IDOC population is elderly and many more are disabled, chronically ill, or medically fragile. Incarcerated individuals who become seriously ill will have to be transferred to community hospitals, straining those facilities and contributing to the spread of the virus.

There are only 1,555 intensive care beds in the entire city of Chicago and another 446 intensive care beds in the rest of Cook County. Because most intensive care beds in Illinois are located in Chicago, Cook County health systems will treat the greatest number of people stricken by COVID-19, and thus will be most affected by actions we take to help curb its spread.

Widespread infection throughout the prison system will dramatically increase the number of people who need critical care, imperling not only people in custody but the entire public health system statewide.

We ask that you consider the immediate resentencing of elderly people serving Cook County sentences who pose no risk of recidivism but whose continued incarceration poses substantial risks to ongoing statewide efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Swift and decisive action is the only way to protect our entire community from this novel and dangerous disease. We urge you to do everything in your power to flatten the curve.


Restore Justice Foundation, Illinois Prison Project, and the Undersigned

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