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May 25, 2024

Edgar County Jail will close starting December 1, 2019 –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 6, 2019

Paris, IL. (ECWd) –

During today’s Edgar County Board Meeting, the public was notified that the Edgar County Jail is effectively closing at the end of the month.

Citing the lack of any insurance coverage, the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department will no long be able to house prisoners overnight in its jail. This will come at a cost to the county.

All other current operations within the building will continue, such as:

  • ETSB (911) Operations
  • Sheriff Office and operations
  • Holding prisoners immediately prior to and immediately after court appearances

All other (overnight) prisoners will be housed in surrounding county jails.

As were reported on Sep 25th, Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust, Insurance Program Managers Group, declined coverage in a letter  sent August 23, 2019, which states that effective December 1, 2019, the insurance company has a material change in coverage.  Specificaly, “the premises and operations at the Edgar County Jail, located at 228 North Central, Paris, Illinois, is excluded for General Liability, Law Enforcement Liability, Property and Inland Marine Coverage”

We reported on the Jail Liability Review on October 1st, where nine conditions were identified(read the documents below or click here) by the jail inspector.

Here is what was found/recommended:

  • Complete re-write of policy – training on the new policy, and all jail practices must model the policy (meaning – work according to the written policy, otherwise they effectively is no policy)
  • Avoid strip searches for minor crimes/traffic offenses
  • Personnel who dispense medication should be trained to do so, and all medications should be vetted by medical personnel. There should be an on-call doctor to consult with on these issues and others.
  • A mental health professional should be contracted with for regular periodical rounds of the jail and to consult with suicidal subjects
  • An officer assigned as PREA coordinator to make sure inmates are informed of their rights under PREA, which reduces liability in cases of alleged sexual misconduct within the jail (remember this?)
  • Use of Force should be immediately documents, reviewed, and a determination made of whether it was warranted or not, in writing
  • Training must be consistent and conducted on a regular basis. All officers should be certified correctional officers with appropriate training, including part-time officers
  • Internal Affairs – discipline investigations should not be conducted by the Sheriff because there would be no supervisor to review the findings
  • Jail conditions – it is old and in need of upgrades. It was dirty and had trash and liquid on the ground

We suspect the County will soon be asking voters to approve a new tax referendum to build a new jail facility.



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  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 11:55h, 06 November Reply

    This problem was discussed at the Clark County board meeting two months ago and I attended the meeting. Sheriff Bill Brown stated that he had been approached by Edgar county asking for help by housing Edgar county prisoners in our county jail. He turned them down. I talked to Bill that day myself and informed him that I am totally in support of his refusal. To help Edgar county would cost Clark County taxpayers an additional big bundle of county money because our county law enforcement is at their spending limits. Clark County Taxpayers should not burdened with the costs of Edgar county INCOMPETENCE.

  • Sheriff Joe
    Posted at 13:02h, 06 November Reply

    Aside from 1-someone other than or beyond the Sheriff needing to do the discipline reviews/investigations and 2-the well known fact the jail is old and dirty…how could the sheriff’s department NOT be adhering to law enforcement standards listed above that have been around and commonly committed to policy by law enforcement agencies all over the U.S. ? Ok, I get it. Still, it’s hard to believe. It’s easy to see why the insurance carrier would cancel liability insurance.

  • Sal Tessio
    Posted at 15:04h, 06 November Reply

    Well, Warren, hopefully not everybody has your attitude, because those prisoners have to go somewhere, and it will be years before a new jail is finished, should one be built. I posit that it should not. Many local government entities and facilities need to be consolidated. To the extent it has not already done so, the state legislature should grant authority to form multi-county entities to maintain certain costly facilities. The consolidation idea goes doubly for townships, which for the most part seem to serve as a jobs program for ne’er do wells.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 06:56h, 08 November Reply

    It’s my understanding the sheriff has not been able to stay with in his budget and the county board has not been willing to hold him responsible for his overspending and his mismanagement of the Edgar County Jail. His over spending over the past few years was approaching 100k.

    The board also has problems. Siphoning airport funds…about 60K per year….to support the sheriff’s overspending…..from the unbudgeted airport slush fund to cover it….and not applying it to debt, courthouse roof or permanent fixes….has only made our counties debt worse. What financial controls were in place?

    And of course….we continue to provide 80k to run the airport as well as fund, without question, additional improvements, during a time of dire financial straights.
    Remember, two aircraft were firebombed at our airport; among other lawless acts, and our miss-managed EC sheriffs Department has yet to arrest the locals that did this.
    Why would Clark County want to help exacerbate the problem?

    • homer
      Posted at 09:16h, 09 November Reply

      motley was sheriff when the firebombing happened and he turned it over the state police now you want to blame current sheriff motley did nothing during his term to help the jail problem in fact he did very little of anything and the election showed it

      • Kirk Allen
        Posted at 12:34h, 09 November Reply

        Homer you are sadly mistaken. Motley exposed the jail situation and all but begged them to fix it. The county board refused to take appropriate action. The ISP turned the investigation back over to the Sheriff’s office and nothing has been done on that case since Wood became Sheriff. The election results had nothing to do with the facts. The County board has done nothing for years to fix the jail and the current sheriff has done nothing to close the investigation of the firebombing. You can disagree but what evidence do you have that disputes the above facts?

        • Homer
          Posted at 19:42h, 09 November Reply

          if facts didn’t beat motley then what did please tell

  • Kelly
    Posted at 02:23h, 19 December Reply

    The whole ambulance situation doesn’t appear to be fair treatment of the ecssa, it appears though to have been a real sweetheart deal for the county board. They if I read correctly not so long ago, were relieved of any further financial responsibility for the local ambulance service. Many years ago I worked at Paris Community Hospital, straight out of high school as an E.M.T./E.R. tech. In the early 80s, we had 3 ambulances, that were nothing fancy but got the job done. If memory serves the Ambulance Coordinator at the time was the late Norman Kahl, E.M.T./R.T., in fact I worked on many calls side by side with many very fine dedicated individuals at the Paris Community Hospital Ambulance Service. My point is the Edgar County Board fought Norman tooth and nail for the financial support that we really needed in those days, to replace outdated equipment, especially the ambulances. Seems like it was always a major frustration for Norman not to mention an embarrassment I myself experienced at least 2 major mechanical failures during emergency calls. Point is on the cover I don’t get it. If the county got off the hook with the ambulance expense, uh, why would this be the only county around without a jail for God’s sake. All these years the board whined about paying one half of the ambulance expenditures, and apparently the jail will not be a benefactor, of the generosity of Horizon Health and financial relief of that sweetheart deal the board received. Instead we’re building what ? A new Fire Dept./ Ambulance svc. Dept. All the bells and whistles shiny Showplace that would be replacing facilities that are adequate at least. I would say the board would be better served by paying the ECCSA the 300 thousand dollars the board forgot to pay them, before they were so conveniently replaced. Uh, there is a 5 bay Ambulance Garage at the hospital, or at least that’s what the building was built for in the early 80s. Maybe a maintenance shed now or a doctor condo. Coming the fancy new ambulances andf trucks sounds really awesome, but a waste of tax dollars big-time. Personally, as a long long time resident of Edgar County, registered voter who votes, taxpayer and concerned citizen, the cost of transportating our local prisoners to other area county jails seems highly impractical,and I guess Clark Co. Already said No Absolutely Not. Since 1994 the board has been aware of the inhumane filthy conditions at the jail and has been sued for it, I imagine at the taxpayers expense. I’ve been following this a bit, because I admit it, I spent a weekend myself in what was called the birdcage, during the winter. The boiler couldn’t supply the upper floors heat, so for 2 and one half days it was never warmer than 54 degrees. After my release I was very sick. But not once in all of this have u heard any concern raised about the potential additional hardship this puts on innocent citizens, yep you guessed it, the families of the incarcerated. My heart seriously goes out to these folks who have broken no laws but will now face the additional burden of going out if town to visit their loved ones. Already they are burdened with bail money, court costs , collect calls with ridiculous rates and commissary marked up 5 or 6 times the stores retail prices. Being arrested ànd or convicted of a crime justly should punish the the guilty, the innocent family members should not be punished nor should they be looked down on by public, especially the law enforcement officers for the crimes of they’re loved ones. County residents have put up with this condemned;jail since 1994. My grandmother grew up in the Edgar County jail sheriff’s living quarters, as her father, and my great grandfather Oda Sizemore Edgar County Sherrif two terms in the early 10s and 20s. So combined with my personal experience as a weekend resident in gramps’s jail, and a recipiant of my grandmother’s many stories of the happenings at the jail long ago, and most of all empathetic concerned citizen of Edgar Co.. I just think this isn’t all about the money or the budget, a new jail is about doing the right thing for the right reasons .nobody likes jail, but I certainly take difference with the discussions thusfar I have read, no reasonable mention of the burden citizens of Edgar Co. Whom have loved ones in jail would negatively impact them. I hope I haven’t mistaken any facts,and I may have. Unintentionally, nor have I any animosity for any board or county officials. I was only interested in presenting a different perspective about the human issues that i believe families may encounter if the county doesn’t replace the jail, it’s not like you couldn’t see this coming c’mon man../Brand New Ambulance/ Fire Dept.Statuon Vs. A County Jail, Jail is a no brainier. Wake up America !

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