Sheriff advocates drug crackdown, expansion of jail

By Nissin Behar

The DeKalb County Sheriff is advocating jail expansion, a crackdown on drug trafficking and to rid highways of drunken drivers.

Roger Scott said, “In fall 1988, the jail population was hitting 70 (prisoners) on a consistent basis.” The County Jail can handle 30 to 45 people on an average basis.

In early winter and spring 1990, Scott said, prisoners will be double bunked. While serving time, prisoners are allowed to watch television and read various publications kept in the jail’s multi-purpose room, he said.

Illinois law requires prisoners to have two to three hours of exercise a week. However, “we don’t have to take them outside,” he said. The jail cells house such offenders as bar fighters, murderers and rapists, he said.

The prisoners are also granted visiting days on Tuesday and Saturday. The visits are limited to 30 minutes and guests speak on the telephone, while the prisoner is on the other side of a window talking on a receiver. Lawyers and pastors are permitted to speak to the prisoners in person, Scott said.

The Sheriff’s Office also handles a drug taskforce. The drug taskforce’s job is to concentrate on eliminating drugs in DeKalb and surrounding areas, Scott said. The taskforce is headed by the state police and one officer representing each of the following: NIU, Sycamore, the Sheriff’s Office and DeKalb.

Scott added the number of reported traffic accidents resulting in fatalities have stayed about the same. Sixteen traffic accidents were reported by the Sheriff’s Office in 1989 and 17 in 1988. “We’re having a bad year as far as deaths on the highways,” Scott said. Alcohol-related deaths are down 50 percent from five or six years ago, he said. In 1988, there were 74 driving under the influence of alcohol arrests, compared with 140 arrests a couple of years ago, Scott said.