Kankakee County Sheriff Timothy Bukowski blamed staffing cuts for the Wednesday escape of convicted murderer Kamron T. Taylor, 23.
Taylor, who is still on the run, escaped from the Jerome Combs Detention Center early Thursday. He was awaiting sentencing for murder after being convicted of shooting a man in the head in a failed robbery.
Bukowski says the Combs detention center has lost 15 to 20 percent of its staff, leading to extended hours for workers, which, he says, was not lost on the facility's 450 inmates.
"The inmates could see them working a double shift and see that they were tired," said Bukowski. "So all those factors contribute to what's going on."
He added that budget cuts negatively impacted security enhancements officials wanted to make to the facility. But he opted not to go into detail about what those improvements were, saying "the inmates already know too much."
Taylor beat a guard to unconsciousness at 3 a.m. Wednesday after escaping from his cell and waiting for the guard to do his rounds. Taylor then took the guard's keys and uniform, tricked other guards watching suveillance video to let him through three security doors, then found the beaten guard's SUV and drove away.
Law enforcement officers have checked at least 50 homes in Kankakee County in search of Taylor.
"We have to believe ... someone is helping him, concealing him," Bukowski said. "We will prosecute those people.
"We additionally remind the public that this man is very, very dangerous," he added. "We know that he has a weapon and we know that he will not hesitate to use it."
There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Taylor.