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 was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



Sheriff closing 2 buildings at Cook County Jail as inmates decline
Move could save $15 million a year, ease staffing woes

Thursday, March 04, 2010
Chicago Tribune
by Matthew Walberg

With the number of inmates at Cook County Jail falling below 9,000, Sheriff Tom Dart said he has shuttered one building and will soon close another, saving up to an estimated $15 million a year and easing staffing woes.

Surrounded by rows of empty metal bunk beds in closed Division 2, Dart told reporters he believed this marked the first time ever that the sprawling West Side jail had been downsized. The closings lower the jail's capacity to about 9,100, down some 900 beds.

A construction binge took place in the early to mid-1990s after the jail population soared, forcing hundreds of inmates to sleep on mattresses on the floor and leading to a public-safety nightmare as many inmates won quick release on signature bonds to ease overcrowding.

Until recently, the complex near the Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California Avenue had been the nation's largest single-site jail for years. The number of inmates peaked at more than 11,000 in 2002 and has steadily declined since 2004 to about 8,600, Dart said. A jail in Texas is now bigger, he said.

The sheriff said a drop in arrests, particularly in Chicago, was the principal reason for the jail's population decline. Its annual intake plummeted 18.6 percent from 2004 through 2009, he said. Arrests by Chicago police account for about four-fifths of the jail's detainees.

Overcrowding has been an endemic problem at the jail for more than three decades, forcing a series of federal judges to keep a watchful eye over operations. Dart is under pressure to boost staffing after U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ordered the county to hire an additional 210 corrections officers and fill nearly 300 vacant positions.

With the closings of the two buildings, Dart said about 175 correctional officers will be reassigned elsewhere in the jail, a move he hopes will satisfy part of the judge's order. Earlier this week, the County Board approved other hirings as well.

Dart said Division 2, a 55-year-old building that once served as a kitchen, will be converted into a cafeteria. Division 3, which was built in 1973, will be mothballed but kept ready to handle any uptick in population.

"We have no delusions that this is going to be the case forever, but we feel comfortable with what we're building into this, that we are going to be able to maintain this and to keep some of these divisions closed, some hopefully forever," he said.

mwalberg@tribune.com


Recent Headlines

Cook County Final Multiplier Announced
Friday, April 29, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Documentary on Cook County Forest Preserves airs May 15
Friday, April 29, 2016
Daily Herald

Zip lines coming to Cook County forest preserve — but Preckwinkle won't be riding
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Harvey tax levy rejected by Cook County clerk in wake of chaotic meeting
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Blow off your job, risk losing it
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Misdemeanors might mean tickets over arrests on Metra in Cook County
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Daily Herald

Cook County Jail chess program teaches inmates self-empowerment
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County dispatchers to receive mental health training
Monday, April 25, 2016
Chicago Tribune

OP Ed: ‘Rocket Docket’ says jail is for the dangerous, not the poor
Monday, April 25, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago firm helps Cook County keep hackers out of voting machines
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Video: Local Jail Guard, Never Disciplined, Kicks Prisoner In Head
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Chicagoist

Cook County Forest Preserve Foundation Events
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County jail guard beats prisoner on ground but keeps job
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Sneed exclusive: Officials urged take pay cut to fund youth jobs
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Piatt suspends housing of Cook County inmates
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Cook County Officials Warn of 'Very Powerful Drug' After More Than 100 Die in 7 Months
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
NBC Chicago

Ex-worker of Clerk Dorothy Brown pleads guilty in pay-to-play investigation
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Judge: Mission Hills suit to block Red Seal Development will go to trial
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Mihalopoulos: Preckwinkle has perception problem in bond deal
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff's Police patrolling Back of the Yards after spike in violence
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

all news items

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