Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



New report indicate county juvenile detention center flawed

Thursday, October 19, 2006
Chicago Defender
by Demetrius Patterson, Chicago Defender

A report released Wednesday by John Howard Associates of Illinois indicated that much needed changes are underway in the flawed system of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

"For the first time in more than five years, a John Howard Association team felt that management at the Detention Center has the professional background, orientation, and apparent independence to reorganize the Detention Center, improve operations, install new procedures and guide staff at all levels toward a standard of care that could, in time, assure safety for children as well as staff members," the report stated.

 John Howard, and advocacy group for inmates' rights, visited the youth detention center back in August and compiled a 24-page report of its findings.

 "I think the biggest concern that we have is how the administration has dealt with basic safety of the juveniles," Malcolm Young, executive director of John Howard Associates, told the Defender Wednesday.

"We saw a lot of improvement in the top administration, but we still heard and saw reports of injuries to juveniles," Young said. "Reports of injuries to juveniles which were attributed to staff. We weren't in position to verify these reports, but we were able to look at medical records, and some injury complaints by some of the youths were verified by the medical records."

 When Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele took office in the beginning of August, she wiped clean the old juvenile detention administrative executives and replaced them with new blood, including current Interim Superintendent J.W. Fairman Jr.

"We had a protocol from day one," Fairman told the Defender Wednesday about investigating injuries to juvenile detainees.

Fairman said if a youth reports that a staff member has caused an injury and it's in a medical report, his office investigates it right away and tries to corroborate the incident through an investigation. The accused staffer is separated from the youth and put on paid leave while the investigation is active.

 "The place has been going through a lot of criticism by everybody, which is not bad," Fairman said. "But people need have reasonable expectations and give the facility some opportunity to straighten itself out."

 Visible progress can be seen now, Fairman added, but the detention center needs a good year to see major changes, he said.

Young said there is no system in place to accurately record and investigate alleged incidents of abuse. He said there should be a running record available to attorneys and to the public (without youth names) to watch for any patterns of complaints.

 "It concerns me that the previous administration failed to put into place a hotline for anyone to call and place a complaint if some incident occurs," Young said.

 A hotline system, however, wouldn't work, Fairman said. He said juveniles could use the phone system to make drug transactions or threaten people outside of the system.

John Howard brings a group of civilians to observe the juvenile detention about four times a year, Young said.

"We try to improve conditions for inmates and we also work with the correction system's administrators," Young said. "Because many of the problems with the inmates and the administrators are the same."

As an example, Young recounted an incident where a prisoner complained about his prison area being filthy, but the warden complained about having problems getting enough disinfectant into the prison to mop the place down."

 The other main grievance outlined in the juvenile detention report is a shortage of staff.
Young said staff at a supervisor level was at a 50 percent shortfall.  He said 12 supervisors serve where there are 18 positions, and where there should be 24 positions. Among non-school and non-medical employees who have direct contact with children at the detention center, there is a shortfall of 86 staffers, or 22.9 percent, Young said.

The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center currently has about 500 employees for approximately 400 youth between the ages of 11 to 16 (with some 17 and 18 year olds).

 Fairman said part of the problem with staffing is that there are nine different work shifts. He has recommended three or four work shifts for people who staff the detention center on a 24-hour seven days a week basis.

"So the shortage of staff is misleading," Fairman said. "We do need more supervisors. We have 12 vacancies and we are working to get those positions filled."

"You have to go through a systemic way of changing things," Fairman continued. "You have to look at your leadership and then start making changes. You explain changes of policy to staff, even if you have to sit down and talk to them."

 Fairman said Steele has allowed him to bring in the right people under him who have a strong commitment in seeing that the operations at the detention change.

 "But my number priority is to make sure that the kids are not abused," Fairman said. "Everybody here is getting judged by the actions of less than 10 percent of the staff."
 Young agrees that protecting youth has to be priority number one.

 "What we said in the report is that there is now new management, and there are some promising things going on under the new management," Young said. "We were really encouraged by some of the professionalism shown by the new management team.

 "But with that said, the current administration must reach down and change the structure of the line level (employees)."



Recent Headlines

Cook County Sheriff launches hate Crime Hotline
Thursday, December 02, 2106
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Berrios and other elected Cook County officials are subject to oversight, Illinois Supreme Court says
Monday, December 05, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County to outsource most tests in death cases
Saturday, December 03, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Cook County Inspector General Can Investigate Assessor’s Office
Friday, December 02, 2016
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

County Fires Homeland Security Chief For His Work As Police Boss
Thursday, December 01, 2016
WBEZ

$600,000 awarded to man accidentally locked in Cook County Jail for more than a day
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County plans to knock down 3 jail buildings to save millions
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County Winter Camping Reservations Now Open
Monday, November 28, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

2017 Unsung Heroine Award Call for Nominations
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Looking to lease MWRD real estate? New online mapping system of properties now available
Monday, November 21, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

County savings
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle wins approval of $4.9 billion budget balanced with new soda tax
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Detainees hospitalized after fire, fight at Cook County Jail
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Two inmates hurt after fight, small fire in Cook County Jail
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cash bail under fire as discriminatory while poor inmates languish in jail
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Cook County beverage tax spells end to soft-drink bargains
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Sheriff Tom Dart proposing to scrap Illinois’ cash-bond system
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Northbrook, MWRD unveil unique park facility to prevent flooding
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail population drops with more electronic monitoring
Friday, November 11, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County soda pop tax approved with Preckwinkle breaking tie vote
Friday, November 11, 2016
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP