In 2005, the sheriff of Kankakee County, Ill., discovered the alchemy necessary to turn the financial burden of operating jails into a financial boon. He rented to other correctional agencies--including Cook County Jail--as many of his 668 beds as possible.
Running a jail--particularly, leasing the beds--is dangerous work. Jails are war zones where detainees and correctional officers fight for power. In 1986, a Kankakee County jail guard was killed while helping escort a violent detainee from a jail community room to a cell. The detainee kicked the guard, Jerome Combs, repeatedly in his chest, according to the Kankakee Daily Journal. Within 75 minutes, he hemorrhaged, choked on his blood and vomit, and died.
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