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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Feds to Cook County: Clean up the Jail

Friday, July 18, 2008
Chicago Public radio

The federal government is putting new pressure on old problems that have plagued the Cook County Jail. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice finds that conditions at the facility violate the civil rights of the inmates housed there. And the threat of a lawsuit by the DOJ's civil rights division is a weighty hammer hanging over the head of jail administrators.

With nearly 10,000 inmates crowded onto 96 acres, the cook county jail is like it's own town.

FASANO: It's a good sized town of belligerent, sick people.

Charles Fasano is with the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group. For years, decades actually, federal judges have been watching and trying to make things better at Cook County Jail. The judges rely on Fasano's group to paint an impartial picture of what's going on in the facility. And Fasano says the county hasn't been doing well.

FASANO: They think they can run a jail on the cheap, they can't.

FITZGERALD: When you're talking about unnecessary amputations and deaths you have a serious problem.

That's U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Yesterday he announced the findings of a year-and-a-half-long investigation into conditions at the jail and what they found is not good, like medical care that's so bad people have gotten unnecessary amputations. And the buildings are falling apart leading in a strange way to violence. The reports says, "inmates have ample material for fabricating weapons, including floor tiles, metal from light fixtures, metal from the ventilation system." It goes on. Fitzgerald says the jail is overcrowded and there are staffing shortages, some of the staff they do have abuse the inmates.

FITZGERALD: There's clearly examples of corrections officers in organized groups beating inmates to retaliate for verbal abuse and people going to the hospital for it.

All of this is outlined in a 98 page letter that the justice department sent last week to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

DART: There is just criticism after criticism overlooking all of the positive things we're doing.

If the jail is like a town, then Tom Dart is the mayor. When I talked to him yesterday he sounded like he was personally offended, even hurt, by the allegations in the federal report. He talked about how he spends 11 hours a day at the jail and reviews every instance of someone using a shank to stab someone. And he's got plans for the chaotic center where inmates are processed into the jail.

DART: Why is it not mentioned up front the receiving center is inadequate, the sheriff acknowledges that it's not right, they have a new plan in place, in the meantime they should do a, b, c, and d. I would be like okay, that sounds good we'll work on those a, b, c, and d's. But instead the language I get is just incredible.

WILDEBOER: But do you disagree with the general allegations that these problems exist and something needs to be done.

DART: What I disagree with is A, they way they framed it and the magnitude of what they're saying.

In the end Dart conceded he'd love to see all the issues raised by federal investigators solved. He says the big problem is going to be money. That's been one of the problems for a long time. Private civil rights attorneys who have been suing the county for decades have never been able to force it to really clean up the jail. But Fasano, with the jail watchdog group, says there's a difference between their lawsuits and the one that is portended by this recent federal investigation.

FASANO: They don't have extraordinarily deep pockets whereas the justice department, last time I looked, does have tremendous resources on this.

Fasano says in the most extreme scenario, a federal judge could takeover the jail, appoint an administrator and give the administrator a blank check signed by the county. With that kind of threat, the county is likely to cooperate but the back and forth negotiating could be drawn out for years.


Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

2 Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement: officials
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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