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Kendall County sheriff says jail will remain open

After publicly announcing a proposal to close the Kendall County jail and merge services into the Kane County jail, Kendall County’s sheriff said plans have changed.

The jail in Yorkville will now remain open, but the corrections staff there will be reduced by 13 officers.

The proposal to merge the Kendall and Kane facilities came after both sheriffs reviewed how the state’s new cashless bail system set to start in 2023 will impact local jails.

Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird previously said it did not make financial sense to continue running the jail in Yorkville because the new state law is expected to drastically reduce the number of inmates in jails across the state.

Baird and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain outlined the possible merger plans at the end of July, but about two weeks later Baird said after evaluating further, he concluded it was not what was best for Kendall County.

Kendall sheriff’s officials said they evaluated the proposal and its impact on staffing, inmates and the logistics of transporting detainees to Kane County for both the sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies.

Under the merger plan, the arresting police departments in Kendall County would have been responsible for transporting inmates to the Kane County jail and the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office would be responsible for driving prisoners from the Kane jail to the courthouse in Yorkville for appearances.

Now, the plan in Kendall is that the jail will remain open but that operations in a portion of the facility will be closed. Of the 13 corrections officer positions that will be eliminated, seven of the positions are currently unfilled, officials said.

“When factoring in other staffing considerations including potential retirements and resignations, we are working to reduce the number of current staff that would be impacted by the potential elimination of positions as much as possible,” Kendall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Briars said in a statement .

Kendall’s jail has a capacity of 203 and currently averages around 130 to 140 inmates, but only 50 to 60 of those are actually from Kendall County, Baird said. The remainder are from other jurisdictions, particularly Cook County, or federal prisoners.

Baird predicts the new cashless bail system will decrease the number of inmates by 30%. Meanwhile, Kane County’s jail, which has a capacity of 640 inmates, is only about half full, and two of the jail’s cell blocks are currently not in operation.

Kane County currently is housing Kendall County’s female inmates after realizing there were not enough women to keep a female unit open at the Kendall jail, Hain said.

“We are excited about the female integration because of the disparity between men and women in custody being five to one, it just makes sense to pool the female population,” Hain said. “It’s a savings for Kendall not to have a whole extra jail unit open and it’s revenue for Kane.”

Hain said Kane County typically averages around 24 females in the jail in a 64-person women’s cell block.

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