Per DailyMail, Chicago is not sharing the names of released prisoners because they want to protect their privacy after 1,000 inmates were freed from Cook County jail to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The jail, one of the largest in the country, has one of the worst coronavirus clusters in the United States.
Privacy has been cited as an issue, as the sheriff’s office and state attorney argue over who has responsibility for tracking names of those released.
WashingtonTimes reports Cook County, home of Chicago, released hundreds of inmates from its jails during the coronavirus crisis. But good luck trying to find out who is back on the streets or what crimes they are accused of committing.
The prosecutors and public defenders, who handle the cases in special COVID-19 court hearings, keep a close hold on the information and refuse to share it with the public or other law enforcement agencies.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office that runs the jail says it doesn’t know who was released because of the coronavirus.
Even the Chicago Police Department says it’s in the dark about inmates who have been released.
“The greatest fear people have is the fear of the unknown,” Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, told The Washington Times. “We don’t know what is occurring, we don’t know why people are being released, we don’t know their offenses, and we don’t know if these people pose a danger to society.”
Like Cook, cities and counties across the country are opening jailhouse gates to release inmates awaiting trial for crimes. The goal is to reduce the population behind bars because of fears that a coronavirus would spread quickly in the confined spaces of jail, endangering inmates and staff who have high risk factors that make COVID-19 a killer.
Prison reform advocates and some public health officials support the releases, but public safety advocates warn that authorities do not give enough scrutiny to those who are set free.
Read more here.