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Kankakee receives more federal money for outside detainees

July 14, 2018

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Two county jails in Illinois set a record for receiving $959,000 in federal revenue.

Kankakee County’s jails in May broke its previous 2013 record when it received $957,000 in outside inmate bed rental money, the Daily Journal reported.

Nearly all of the money comes from federal agencies. Kankakee County gets $80 daily for each inmate from the feds and $72 from Cook.

Bed rental revenue dropped from 2014-2016 before trending upward after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, began housing detainees in the local jails in fall 2016. The county has been housing federal inmates since 2004 through a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.

ICE has been the subject of controversy due to President Donald Trump administration’s federal policy of separating children from parents crossing the border, which the president recently ended. Kankakee County’s jails detain no one younger than 18.

Fred Tsao, a lawyer who advocates for immigrants and refugees, said he’s toured the local facilities twice. He said he opposes the national policy of detaining people for immigration violations.

“They are being charged civilly with a civil infraction. Why should they be in jail? I fundamentally question why they should be there to begin with,” Tsao said.

He said he has no firsthand reports on particular complaints about the Kankakee County facilities, but he said he takes issue with the fact that family can’t visit with those detained by ICE face to face. They can talk over video.

“It can be really disconcerting to see someone over a video screen,” Tsao said.

The two jails have a capacity for 712 inmates. As of June 26, the two jails had a total of 617 inmates, consisting of 249 local, 212 from the Marshals Service, 142 from ICE and 14 from Cook County.

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