No Charges as Jail Probe Ends State's Attorney Criticizes Management Practices at Facility after He Could Not Find Evidence He Needed

By Kunz, Tona; Pierce, Gala | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 10, 2005 | Go to article overview

No Charges as Jail Probe Ends State's Attorney Criticizes Management Practices at Facility after He Could Not Find Evidence He Needed


Kunz, Tona, Pierce, Gala, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Tona Kunz and Gala Pierce Daily Herald Staff Writers

An investigation into misconduct at the Kane County jail officially ended Friday without any criminal charges.

But jail operations still didn't get a perfect score from the county's top prosecutor.

In a news conference Friday, State's Attorney John Barsanti closed the books on a six-week investigation into allegations of theft and drug use at the jail with criticism of jail management practices, but nothing else.

A grand jury interviewed numerous people in both the jail and sheriff's office, which oversees the jail and booking area. Included in the investigation were nine jail employees accused of misconduct, six of whom have resigned or been disciplined in a separate investigation through the sheriff's office.

The level of evidence needed for criminal prosecution differed from that needed for firings or suspensions.

"There is insufficient evidence in the end to put any charges on anybody involved that we've been able to look at, and we looked at everything," Barsanti said.

"We looked at administrative information, we looked at criminal investigation information, and we had the benefit of interviewing all these people in front of the grand jury. And we aren't able to come up with anything."

Barsanti said the lack of evidence is the result of bad management practices, including inadequate record keeping of inmate belongings and poor tracking of evidence. He said supervisors may have known about misconduct as well.

Barsanti said that since his investigation, changes at the jail have occurred on their own. Barsanti said it wasn't his place to suggest changes and all improvements came from Sheriff Ken Ramsey himself.

Ramsey said the problems stemmed from officers taking unclaimed property left by inmates rather than destroying the items.

Procedures have been changed to spell out more clearly how items must be tagged and stored like evidence seized in a crime and later destroyed.

"We're dealing with human beings. Nothing is perfect," Ramsey said. "I have made all the changes of policy and procedures in the jail to make sure that the things that happened will not happen again."

Ramsey said he accepts full blame for the problems and won't be making any changes in management at the jail.

A grand jury was asked to look into allegations of theft and drug use at the jail after the ex-wife of a jail guard pointed the finger at her husband and a group of his co-workers. The accusations came before and after her arrest by state police on drug charges.

The guard, Albert Jackson, was charged with theft and official misconduct, accused of stealing inmates' jewelry, money and clothes. …

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