©2011 Galesburg Broadcasting Co.
|Proposed Law Allows Religious Access to Federal Inmates in County Jails
|A new Illinois law will allow access by religious ministers to county jails where federal immigration detainees are held.
Two Illinois jails -- the McHenry County Jail in Woodstock and the Tri-County Detention Center in Ullin -- hold several hundred detainees on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The new law, starting June 1, requires these facilities to allow religious counselors to meet the detainees.
Sister JoAnn Persch of the Sisters of Mercy, who has been counseling immigration detainees for years, says at times, the operators of these facilities have either denied access to religious counselors, or placed burdensome restrictions on them that make it virtually impossible for them to enter and meet with the detainees.
The detainees typically are awaiting adjudication of the immigration charges against them. Those who have already been determined to be in violation are often then sent to Broadview to await deportation. This law does not apply to Broadview, because it is a federal facility.
The law passed both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate unanimously. It provides for "reasonable access" to the detention facilities for religious workers, that immigration detainees be notified in advance of the availability of religious counselors, that access by the detainees shall not be denied or limited without good cause, and that consultation with religious counselors shall not count against the visitation time or number of visits to which a detainee is otherwise entitled.
The McHenry County Jail has a typical daily immigrant detainee population of around 400. In Ullin, the daily count is around 350, according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|02 23 09 by Newsroom
Click here for the WGIL News Archive
Click here for national news
The following provision applies to all visitors (which shall include persons and representatives of legal entities, whether such representatives are persons or digital engines of a kind that crawls, indexes, scrapes, copies, stores or transmits digital content). By accessing this Web site or digital service, you specifically acknowledge and agree that: (i) Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium; (ii) No Associated Press materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use; (iii) The Associated Press will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing; (iv) The Associated Press is an intended third party beneficiary of these terms and conditions and it may exercise all rights and remedies available to it; and (v) The Associated Press reserves the right to audit possible unauthorized commercial use of AP materials or any portion thereof at any time.