Warren County Jail closed indefinitely, inmates transferred

File photo of Warren County inmates courtesy of Andy Bell-Baltaci/Gatehouse Media Illinois.

MONMOUTH, Illinois — A pair of resignations at the Warren County Jail  has forced the county to transport nearly two-dozen of its inmates to the Mercer County Jail in Aledo because there aren’t enough personnel to house them at the facility in Monmouth.

Mercer County Sheriff David Staley said about half of Warren County’s 23 inmates on Wednesday, Aug. 1 had arrived in Aledo by midday and he expected the remainder to be in Mercer County by early evening.

The prisoner exchange became necessary as employees left Warren County for other jobs, Warren County State’s Attorney Andy Doyle told the Galesburg Register-Mail.

“We knew this day would come because of pay disparity,” Doyle said in his interview with the paper. “It’s something we should have been planning for some time ago, but we were hoping it would never come to this.”

Staley said he’d been in contact with Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards a few days prior so he was not caught by surprise by the request. In fact, Staley said, Warren’s County loss could be Mercer County’s gain, as the 105-bed jail in Aledo makes a bit of money housing prisoners from other jurisdictions. Earlier this year, Cook County stopped sending inmates due to budget cuts, so gaining Mercer County inmates at $40 per day will help the bottom line, Staley said.

“We’ve got the room and the staff to handle it, whether it’s going to be a permanent thing or not,” he added.

Sheriff Edwards has been warning of problems at the aging Warren County jail for months. Last May, he told WQAD that problems at the 100-year-old jail were creating dangerous working conditions and he was asking the county board to figure out a way to fund a new facility.

The Warren County Board has scheduled an emergency financing meeting for 1 p.m. to discuss the jail issue.