County jail revenue jumps

August 31, 2018 GMT

Kankakee County is receiving more money from the federal government and other agencies to house inmates, including those charged with immigration violations.

In July, the county received $972,000 in inmate revenue, the most in nine years of county records.

The county gets $80 daily for each inmate from the feds and $72 from Cook.

At current rates, the county could see its first million-dollar month by year’s end. Nearly all of the money is from federal agencies, while a little comes from other counties.

Sheriff Mike Downey, who runs county jails, says some of the money is used to cover jail costs, but more than $4 million is available for other county purposes. That has served as a valuable lifeline for the financially struggling county.

Last month, Downey proposed a fraction of the extra income go toward filling patrol deputy positions eliminated a few years ago. But county officials held off on adding deputies citing a hole in the budget, which they say may close by next spring.

A local group, Connect Kankakee, contends the county’s detention of immigrants serves as an endorsement of what it considers aggressive tactics by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Members say the county should not solve its budget problems on the backs of immigrants.

The group is organizing a rally for 1 p.m. Saturday on the Kankakee County courthouse lawn.

During a county board committee meeting Tuesday, Downey was asked about letters that rally organizers have been sending to county officials and others.

“I received a letter myself inviting me to the rally on Saturday,” Downey said.

He said he met with Connect members some time ago and offered to give them a jail tour, but they have not accepted yet.