Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



A chance for the juvenile center

Friday, July 20, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Negotiators appear to be close to a breakthrough in the prolonged struggle to bring order from chaos at Cook County's detention center for youth. If they can all agree, they will turn the place over to Earl Dunlap, a national leader in juvenile justice.

An imposing man with Kentucky roots, a Downstate home address and a down-home demeanor, Dunlap looks like an excellent choice to lead a turnaround. Representatives for Cook County and the American Civil Liberties Union were negotiating this week on how much authority Dunlap, if hired, would be granted.

If they settle on that, the ACLU would drop its motion to have the juvenile center placed in receivership by the federal court.
One key: convincing Cook County commissioners to give Dunlap enough authority and autonomy to fix the place. The County Board controls the budget and operations for the facility, which houses more than 400 youths.

Another key: Convincing commissioners they can't protect the political hacks they've forced on the payroll at the center.

Dunlap is executive director of the National Juvenile Detention Association. By all reports, he's an aggressive, no-nonsense, hands-on administrator. He has extraordinary experience, and he wouldn't be concerned about Cook County politics.

He's in great demand around the country. Most recently he's been in Washington, D.C., helping to reform a troubled, 80-bed youth detention center there.

"Earl is a really colorful character who has an incredible amount of knowledge about juvenile detention systems," said Vincent Schiraldi, director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington. Schiraldi says Dunlap sleeps at the facility to get a sense of what goes on during the midnight shift ... and to save money on hotels.

Sounds promising. But there's one caveat. If Dunlap lacks the budget authority or flexibility to do his job effectively, then it will be a waste of everybody's time. It will be up to Cook County commissioners to ensure he has that authority.

The ACLU, which has documented chronic problems at the center, recently asked the federal court to wrest the place from the county and appoint a receiver. That would require a detailed, public airing of the filth, abuse and gross patronage practices at the center. County officials now appear willing to cede control in a quieter way, as long as Dunlap isn't called a "receiver." How much control he would have over purchasing, contracts and finances, however, is still the subject of intense negotiation.

ACLU officials believe Dunlap would need about a year to stabilize the center, maybe even a little more time. During that time, formal control would shift from the Cook County Board to Tim Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court, under state legislation approved last spring.

This sounds like a promising solution to a dire situation. And it can get done, provided Cook County politicians finally feel an obligation to fix the disaster they helped to create.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Board votes to put recorder of deeds elimination question on ballot
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Chicago Tribune

3 Cook County officers injured while restraining jail inmate
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Morning Spin: Cook County Board takes mostly symbolic whack at Chicago street violence
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board To Vote On Consolidating Offices
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Preckwinkle revamps Cook County Health and Hospitals board
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Crain's Chicago Business

A Cook County no-brainer: Let taxpayers merge these two offices
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Fire Department: 3 hurt at Cook County Jail
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Rush, Cook County hospitals get grant for fight against deadly superbugs
Monday, June 27, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Swallow Cliff Pavilion, Second Stair Set Now Open in Palos Region
Monday, June 27, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

2 shot by Cook County sheriff's deputy in Marquette Park
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Treetop zip lines challenge mind and body in Bemis Woods
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: A steep price when jail guards abuse sick time
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Why Cook County Health thinks it should expand into nursing homes
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Crain's Chicago Business

For anniversary, couple go for some zip at new forest attraction
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

New forest preserve attraction puts some zip into recreation
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Chicago Tribune

New forest preserve provides natural beauty, but land dispute gets ugly
Friday, June 24, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Merge Cook County offices of clerk, recorder of deed
Friday, June 24, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County voters may get chance to consolidate clerk, recorder offices
Friday, June 24, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Grand Opening Ceremony for Swallow Cliff Pavilion, Second Stair Set
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Tom Dart releases videos of Cook County Jail inmates attacking deputies
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Fox 32 Chicago

all news items

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