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Juvenile center fights still not reported
Study urges switch to judge's supervision

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by ABDON M. PALLASCH Staff Reporter

There still are fights between detainees at the troubled Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, and some are not being reported, according to a study being released today by a prison watchdog.
The John Howard Association, which has been critical of the Chicago facility, went through records of fights there last month and found about 29 minor injuries over a five-week period. The group took that as an indication of a lack of supervision by staff.
But then John Howard officials got calls from two families about injuries their sons allegedly suffered in fights at the center that were not among the reports.
Guard's job saved
Meanwhile, the county's attempt to fire a guard who allegedly punched a youth in the face twice was overturned by the Illinois Personnel Review Board, the report noted.
The report recommends a new general superintendent with experience in juvenile detention facilities. It also recommends the center be transferred from the Cook County Board president to being under the chief judge's office.
County Board President Todd Stroger supports both of those changes and testified in Springfield in favor of a bill to move the center to the chief judge's jurisdiction, said Stroger's chief of policy, Jennifer Koehler.
She said county officials are trying to improve oversight at the center, formerly known as the Audy Home.
Contributing: Annie Sweeney


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