About the Jail

McHenry County Jail Operations

The first McHenry County Jail was established together with the Sheriff’s Office in 1837. As the county grew, so did the need for more space. In 1972, a new government center was built. Nearly 20 years later a separate adult correctional facility was built. In 2006, that space was expanded again and today we have the capacity to house up to 650 inmates and employ 195 correctional officers and staff.

The facility houses inmates awaiting trial in criminal cases, as well as those that have been sentenced to the County facility. Included in the inmate population are Federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees, Federal U.S. Marshal inmates and Federal Bureau of Prison inmates. An inmate can be held at the facility until they post bond or are sentenced. After an inmate is sentenced, they can be detained at the County facility for 364 days. Anyone sentenced to more than 364 days is taken to the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve their sentence.

The McHenry County Correctional Bureau is proud to be a accredited by the American Correctional Association (ACA) as well as Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). 

About The Jail

The McHenry County Correctional Bureau is proud to be accredited by the American Correctional Association (ACA). McHenry County is one of only 5 correctional facilities in the state of Illinois to have this honor.

ACA standards address services, programs, health care and security operations essential to effective correctional management. Through accreditation, an agency is able to maintain balance between protecting the public and providing an environment that safeguards the life, health, and safety of staff and offenders. The standards were developed by national leaders from the field of corrections, law, architecture, health care, and other groups who are interested in sound correctional management.


Inmate Programming

library books

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Correctional Facility offers a range of rehabilitative programs for inmates. Our administrative staff is committed to providing inmates with opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community.

McHenry County Community College provides us with licensed instructors and proctors to conduct GED classes in the facility’s library. 

All inmates have access to religious resources, services, instruction and counseling on a voluntary basis. This service is provided by volunteers who facilitate these programs weekly. All inmates are extended the freedom and opportunity to pursue legitimate religious beliefs or practices within the constraints of security and safety considerations.

Inmate Worker Program

Inmate Workers

The Inmate Worker Program contributes to the orderly operation of the jail. Correctional Officers help recruit eligible inmates to fill worker positions. Officers assign these individuals to work, under officer supervision, in the kitchen, laundry room, and custodial services. The Worker Program is a means of positive and productive interaction for the inmates and can help them with job opportunities upon release.

Sheriff’s Road Crew

The Sheriff’s Road Crew Program consists of two correctional officers assigned to supervise up to four inmate workers who perform work details outside the jail in the community of McHenry County. The road crew program is strictly voluntary. To be eligible for this program, an inmate must pass a medical screening and cannot have a sentence or history of violent offenses.

Typically, the Road Crew works Monday through Friday from the first week of May to the second week of October. Various townships, cities, and government agencies inside McHenry County often request the road crew’s services. Services vary from picking up trash on roads and easements, patching pot holes, seal coating, painting guard rails, clearing trees and brush, and washing fleet vehicles.

The services of the Road Crew not only helps the community look better, but it also helps save money for the local townships that would normally have to use extra manpower to complete these tasks. It also reduces wear and tear on mower equipment that would run over litter. The program also gives inmates a chance to give back to the community by completing constructive tasks. 

Special Response Unit (SRU)

The Special Response Unit (SRU) is made up of 3 teams, each with their own specialized set of skills. They all work together under the umbrella of SRU to handle all specialized functions of the Correctional Facility.


The Tactical Team is composed of officers who are specially trained in resolving critical incidents and the completion of high-risk correctional duties. This includes barricaded subject(s), forced cell movement, hostage rescue, riots, high-risk transports and other duties where specialized action may be required outside of the normal Correctional Officer function.


The Crisis Team is made up of officers who are specially trained to assist inmates in times of crisis and negotiate during critical incidents. The Crisis Team is an integral part of SRU, as they are proactive in the physical and mental well-being of inmates during incarceration.


The Intel Team is made up of officers who are trained in investigations and interviewing. They will investigate potential crimes that are committed by people who are incarcerated. The Intel Team also investigates Major Disciplinary Violations. An important element of their job is to investigate P.R.E.A. (the Prison Rape Eliminate Act) which is a federal set of standards that are aimed at eliminating prison rape.