Chicago Jail Inmate With COVID-19 Dies Shackled to His Hospital Bed

The Cook County jail is the country's largest known single source of new coronavirus infections.


The family of a Chicago jail inmate who died of coronavirus complications is suing the sheriff and Cook County for shackling him to a bed while he was fighting COVID-19.

Jeffrey Pendleton, 59, died last Sunday at a hospital in Cook County after testing positive for the disease a week earlier. Yesterday Pendleton's brothers filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the county violated his constitutional rights by shackling him "by hand and foot" to the hospital bed as he fought to live, even though the jail had provided a 24-hour armed guard to make sure he didn't try to escape.

Pendleton is the first inmate of Cook County's jail system to die of the coronavirus. But he probably won't be the last. Earlier in the week, the Cook County jail became the country's largest known single source of new coronavirus infections. As of Thursday, 276 inmates and at least 115 staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus. And yet, as The New York Times notes, the authorities still haven't tested all of the jail's 4,500 inmates.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart has been isolating himself from his family out of concern that he might expose them. He has established a quarantine area in the jail, and 21 prisoners are being treated at local hospitals.

Pendleton had a lengthy criminal history, according to the sheriff's department, involving 15 previous convictions. He became a registered sex offender after a 1997 criminal sexual assault conviction and was sentenced back then to 15 years. He was in jail now following a 2018 arrest for several charges, including armed violence and drug offenses.

The lawsuit by Pendleton's family, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeks to stop the jail from shackling prisoners to beds while they're being treated for the coronavirus.

This is not the first or only coronavirus-related lawsuit that the Cook County jail faces. Attorney Stephen Weil last week filed a federal class action lawsuit against the jail. Noting the rapid acceleration of cases in an institution where inmates cannot consistently engage in social distancing, Weil wants a judge to order the release of prisoners whose age or preexisting health conditions put them at heightened risk of serious reactions to coronavirus infections. He also wants Cook County to implement better guidelines (like those the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend) or to transfer inmates to safer facilities or other forms of custody.

This afternoon, researchers from Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care released a detailed survey showing how the virus has been spreading in American jail and prison facilities. The problem, they note, isn't just that prisoners are trapped and unable to shield themselves from the disease; it's that jails are how COVID-19 is spreading into nearby communities.

Correctional staff, they point out, have a higher infection rate than inmates, and those staffers live in the outside community. Unsurprisingly, there is a correlation between infection levels among jail staff and infection levels where the staffers live. "States that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, such as Michigan and New Jersey, are also locations where correctional officers are more affected," the report notes. "At the state level, reported correctional staff cases are also correlated with reported cases among inmates."

Mass incarceration is spreading coronavirus infections both outside the walls and within.

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  1. I dont want to speak to all correctional facilities but this is standard procedure in most cases. Even with an armed guard watching an inmate, especially one with violent history would not be a smart move to have him unrestrained.

  2. If there’s one thing we Koch / Reason libertarians want to do, it’s open the borders. But if there’s a second thing, it’s empty the jails. That’s because our benefactor Charles Koch prefers to hire either people born outside the US, or people born in the US with criminal records.

    Sounds strange, doesn’t it? You’d think criminals are generally less trustworthy than normal people and would make bad employees. But Mr. Koch obviously knows what he’s doing. As a result of his legendary managerial skills, he became one of the top 10 richest people on the planet. (Although the #DrumpfDepression knocked him down to number 16.)


  3. Dumb, frivolous lawsuit. Being handcuffed and/or shackled has no bearing on the medical outcome of a coronavirus patient.
    As an habitual criminal and sex offender, they were right to shackle him for the safety of the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.
    Both the plaintiff AND the plaintiff’s lawyers should be forced to pay for all of the court costs and lawyers for the defendants.

  4. Is this gonna be standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?

    1. Damn you Reason, fucking up my replies to OBL.

    2. Zenomorphs may be involved.

    1. Yes of course you think papers are good, doubly so because your pants shitting caused them to be implemented

      1. So you are sevo.

        1. Shut the fuck up jeff you pants shitting retard.

    2. “Yeah I’m gonna need to see your license, registration, proof of insurance and corona card. No Card? Step out of the vehicle. Let me see your hands. Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”

      Police report that a corona card scofflaw was fatally shot by officers last night. Chief Wideass defended the officer’s action in a statement released today. “Our fine officers found their lives threatened by a potential carrier of a deadly disease. In the interest of protecting the community from this threat they had no choice except to prevent the suspect from spreading this virus.”
      The unnamed suspect was ordered immediately cremated to contain the virus so testing was not possible.

      1. Not good good news, but I’m looking for a way out of quarantine here. Letting people who have already had the bug out of their homes is better than no one being let out of their homes.

        1. Having to show your papers to some LEO to leave your house seems kinda police statey to me. I live in a quarantine state, IL, and I haven’t changed my lifestyle at all. Except I can’t take my family out to dinner to celebrate an anniversary. But a card won’t change that. I’m not going to live in fear of these thugs.

          1. We are all under lock down orders, so I’d say things have already gotten police state-y. Whether that lockdown affects your life or not is entirely dependent on how you lived before lockdown. I traveled quite a bit and started a business last year that is not essential, so I am very affected and I want out, dammit. I don’t like this idea any more than you on the basis of individual rights, but seeing admin officials talking about relaxing social distancing orders instead of tightening them seems like a step in the right direction.

            1. We are all under lock down orders,

              No we are not.

              1. Exactly.

        2. I don’t get you guys – who the fuck is not being allowed out of their homes?

          1. ^This

          2. Pussy bitch pants shitters

          3. “who the fuck is not being allowed out of their homes”

            De espresso has apparently been grounded, and can’t leave until he’s given permission or he’ll get in troubbbbble

        3. Have you tried opening your door and walking out?
          I leave the house several times a day, but then again I don’t live in a leftist shithole

          1. Unfortunately I do live in a leftist shit hole and even here there are people outside everywhere.

            1. As do I. And here in the People’s Republic of NJ, we have a useless Goldman Sachs reject (another one, can you believe this shit?) who cannot manage his way out of a paper bag.

              Phailing Phil Murphy is phucking up royally when it comes to testing.

  5. Seeing as it’s Chicago, I am surprised they didn’t move him, and other inmates with the Wuhan, to a black site before the news got out

  6. Pendleton had a lengthy criminal history, according to the sheriff’s department, involving 15 previous convictions. He became a registered sex offender after a 1997 criminal sexual assault conviction and was sentenced back then to 15 years. He was in jail now following a 2018 arrest for several charges, including armed violence and drug offenses.

    Am I supposed to feel bad for Pendleton? It sounds to me like this guy treats liberty as a toilet.

    Clearly the article is not about this dude, so why bring him up? It’s about Cook County jail’s administration being horrible, that should be the focus.

  7. The lawsuit by Pendleton’s family … seeks to stop the jail from shackling prisoners to beds while they’re being treated for the coronavirus.

    Right. What’s the lawsuit really about?

    1. Cue Roger Waters opening riff…

  8. Next up, who has gotten sick at a whore house and why the government should pay for it with expensive lawsuits.

  9. I think it’s safe to assume that armies of trial lawyers are currently planning innumerable lawsuits based on newly minted theories of liability on the other side of this flu panic.

  10. How do you know he died of COVID? Birx has admitted they’re listing all deaths as COVID deaths if the person tests positive regardless of the actual cause. Only 12% of Italian death certificates list COVID as the cause of death.
    “only 12% of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88% of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many two or three.”

  11. Well there’s five minutes I’ll never get back.

  12. I assume that they are the “center” of the outbreak because they are the only ones getting mass tested?

  13. This isn’t an issue. There are far more important things to deal with…

    1. Tell that to the inmates of Cook County jail.

  14. Richard Ricci, who was the prime suspect in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart in 2002, suffered a stroke while in prison. Even though he was in a coma, he was still shackled, and they didn’t undo the shackles until after he died.

    1. The procedures call for shackles, use shackles. It ain’t that hard folks.

  15. I’ve read your entire information that you stocks in your article and I must say I love it. Many thanks for writing this post. TS Hamburg appreciate it.

  16. This article seems a bit slanted. Find the statement regarding the interpretation the Nexus to high rates of community infection and high rates of infection within correctional facilities be illogical best and possibly downright misleading.
    of course communities that I have higher rates of Coronavirus ultimate straight commensurately higher rates of infection within the correctional facilities. However in no way does this indicate that is the inmates who are infecting the staff. It is much more logical to assume and the probability tends to indicate a community with a high rate of coronavirus infection will be much more likely to spread to staff while in the community which they then bring into the facility and transmit to the inmates who have no recourse to mitigating measures.
    The captive population is not a new vector for community infections of coronavirus. This blaming the captives may be politically expediant but is utterly unethical. Facilities with vulnerable captive populations must be deligent in stopping sick employees from coming to work.

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