‘Help us’: Cook County inmates post signs in windows as COVID-19 cases mount

Coronavirus

CHICAGO – Inmates at the Cook County Jail have put up signs in their windows asking for help as COVID-19 cases continue to mount.

Several signs were spotted in inmates’ windows throughout Division X, a maximum security facility.

Some signs said “help us, don’t let us die” and “save us.”

304 detainees and 174 correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19. Two detainees have died as a result of the virus.

Staff said any detainee who is showing symptoms is immediately removed from where they’re housed and taken to receive medical attention.

On Thursday evening, Leslie Pieroni, 51, became the second detainee to die from the virus. He was a sex offender who allegedly sexually assaulted a male child in 2018. In 2006, he was convicted for sexual abusing two children and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Jeffery Pendleton, 59, became the first detainee to die from the virus and was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital Sunday. He was also a sex offender after a 1997 conviction for criminal sexual assault.

Pendleton was hospitalized March 30 after testing positive for the virus.

The deaths come at a time where groups are protesting the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to release detainees as cases continue to swell.

The judge denied their release Thursday.

The New York Times reported that the Cook County Jail is the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office sent the following statement.

Any detainee who is symptomatic for the virus is immediately removed from the tier where he or she is housed and taken to receive medical attention by Cermak Health Services staff. The signs in the window are located in Division X, a maximum security facility, not Cermak Health Services. 

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