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Juvenile center charges denied

Friday, November 11, 2005
Chicago Tribune

Lawyers for Cook County fired back in federal court Thursday at charges that the county has failed to clean up abuse and other problems at its Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

County officials dispute criticisms leveled Tuesday in a petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Assistant State's Atty. Patrick Blanchard said in court.

"We believe that it's inaccurate--that it portrays a picture of the [center] that's not true," he said.

The ACLU alleged in the petition that the county has violated the terms of a 2003 settlement reached in a class-action lawsuit over conditions at the center.

U.S. District Judge John Nordberg told county attorneys to file a written response next month in preparation for a hearing Jan. 11.

Nordberg told Blanchard that "I expect an explanation as to why the problems have not been solved already."

After the hearing, county officials said that the ACLU's petition ignored how they had reduced overcrowding, improved health care and stepped up discipline of bad employees.

"They've just shown they cannot begin to bring the facility into compliance," ACLU lawyer Benjamin Wolf said.



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