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Visitor locked in Chicago jail 30 hours: Dad visits son, cries for help unheard

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A man visiting his son at Chicago Cook County Jail was trapped inside a maximum security visiting area alone for about 30 hours over the Fourth of July weekend. The man had come to the jail to visit his son and he ended up being locked up alone in an area of the jail where no one could hear his cries for help, according to the Chicago Tribune on July 9.

The man was told to go to a visiting area to see his son when he went into a room with the door propped open. Contractors had been working in this room installing cameras and they had left the door ajar. This room was empty, but it is used for a maximum security visitor’s area, so you can imagine how it would be impossible to get out of when locked up behind its doors.

While the man was inside, the door closed, locking him inside this room. He was in a room that apparently was so sound proof that even his constant banging on the door didn’t draw attention to his plight, reports MSN News.

The man’s son had just been moved to a different area of the jail and even though he had visited his son in this facility before, he was now led to a different area, one he had never been in before.

The directions the guard gave the prisoner’s father was to stay to the right until you come to the visiting area. That is just what he did, but the room he ventured into thinking they would soon bring his son into visit him, turned into his own maximum security cell.

Smith said the man was incredibly relieved to be found and he couldn’t have been more gracious going into hour 31 of being incarcerated by mistake. He needed stitches in his hand after he cut it while trying to remove the sprinkler head. He was taken to Rush University Medical Center and Rush picked him up there at about 3 a.m. and brought him back to his car at the jail.

Executive Director Cara Smith said that it was a “perfect storm” of events that led to “this horrible incident” of this poor man being locked up for 30 hours. She said it started with the contractors who propped the door open and continued on to the staff, who never checked to make sure all visitors were logged out.

He was locked inside the room at about 6 p.m. on Saturday and it wasn’t until 1 a.m. on Monday that he was a free man once again. He was let out, but only because he did something drastic to notify the jail that he was locked in this room, going on two days now.

No one came by, he didn’t hear anyone in the area, so the man was very much alone. It didn’t look as if the odds were good for this man to be found in this room anytime soon so he took matters into his own hands.

Finally he broke the fire sprinkler head to summon the fire department to his rescue. This worked and when the fire department arrived on scene, they went to check the area where the sprinkler head came off and found the father locked up behind this thick metal door.

Smith said that the door closed and locked, keeping the man inside the room. Smith said they’ve launched an investigation into this matter. What they are trying to discover is why this door was propped open in the first place and why no one noticed that this visitor never checked out.

The jail logs in every visitor when they come in to see a prisoner and the protocol is for the visitors to be logged out when leaving the facility. If protocol had been followed correctly, someone would have noticed that a visitor came in, but never left and a search for this person would get underway.

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