Kane County Sheriff Spends Night In Jail Cell To Test Conditions

Sheriff Ron Hain plans to spend about one night a month in the jail.

Bernie Tafoya
January 03, 2019 - 11:32 am

Kane County Sheriff's Office


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- New Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain spent Wednesday night in a cell in his own jail, but not because of anything he did wrong.

"I reportedly slept better than I felt like I did," Sheriff Hain jokes.

He had wanted to see for himself whether inmate complaints about jail conditions were valid. Some were. Some were not.

"We’ve got to remember this is not the Ritz-Carlton. It’s a jail," he said.

Sheriff Hain slept without a cellmate and wore standard-issue underwear, socks, orange shirt and pants, along with a blanket and toiletries. 

He said he found the jail a little loud for sleeping, but the temperature and clothing "comfortable" and the breakfast needing improvement. 

The sheriff also mingled with detainees, including talking to one man who has a felony record, but is in jail awaiting trial on, what Sheriff Hain calls, "a minor crime." 

The sheriff said the man wants to open his own business in Aurora and that, two days ago, the sheriff gave him a packet on how to start a business. Wednesday night, Hain said, he and the man "reviewed some bullet points that he had been compiling."

He also "played chess with one of the guys and was reminded I need to brush up on my chess skills. He crushed me."

The sheriff is hoping detainees "buy in" to the kinds of job training and education programs he's offering in the jail so they have something to look forward to when they get out of jail.

He said the specific jail pod he was in consisted of 54 men, approximately 85-90 percent of them African American. The sheriff said, "that's an alarming number, incarceration ratio to me."

Of the breakfast complaint he agrees with, Sheriff Hain said he’d like to see the regular choice that's offered-- a "half slab of bologna" with two cold pieces of bread and some juice, be changed to what the kosher offering is.

"This is something everybody would eat. Heck my 15-year old would come in here and enjoy this breakfast. It was peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some corn flakes cereal with some milk and apple juice."

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said he plans to spend about one night a month in the jail.