Illinois has only one type of county jail facility in the state. Sometimes county jails are called detention centers in some areas. There are ninety-one county jails in Illinois. There is one in almost all of the 102 counties throughout the state. Each one is run by local law enforcement (typically, a Sheriff’s Office). Many of them have websites with information on the history, visitation, and current residents of the jail.
The local county Sheriff’s Office is the law enforcement agency in charge of Illinois county jail inmate records. Therefore, anyone interested in performing an Illinois county jail inmate search can check online to see if their website has an inmate locator feature or call them directly.
There are roughly 23,000 people locked up in county jails in the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Corrections has a particular unit called the “Jail and Detention Standards Unit.” This entity is responsible for setting, monitoring, and upholding the state’s quality of care in local jails and prisons. They expect each facility to maintain a specific standards level, and they perform thorough evaluations annually to ensure this is done. Illinois state statute 730 ILCS 5/3–15–2, enacted this process. As stated on their website: “The purpose of monitoring is to develop standardized practices in detention facilities that enhance the health and safety of the general public, detention staff and detainees. In addition, the Unit provides assistance and services to facilitate the development of those practices.”
The oldest jails in Illinois go back to 1818 when the only form of punishment for residents was a public flogging or a short stint in jail. The first jail was built in Gallatin County. Current local county jails have been modernized and include a various number of beds/cells and different levels of custody. These facilities hold pretrial detainees but also inmates who were sentenced to short stays in jail due to misdemeanors. Felons will eventually be moved to state prisons to finish out their sentences.
The majority of inmates in local county jails have committed misdemeanors and are being held for a hearing or trial. Felons are awaiting a trial or waiting to be moved to prison. The most popular reason someone is arrested in Illinois and thrown in jail is theft. After that burglary, then aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, and then robbery. Rape, arson, and homicide are quite rare in Illinois.