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.
   
     
     
     



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

Dr. Willie Wilson to bail out Cook County Jail detainees who are poor
Monday, September 12, 2016
Chicago Crusader

Letter: Misused medicines are killing Cook County residents. Here's how we can stop it
Friday, September 09, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County plan links transportation and racial equity
Friday, September 09, 2016
Chicago Reporter

Biggest assessment hikes a shore thing in north Cook suburbs
Friday, September 09, 2016
Crain's Chicago Business

Outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Reflects on Office
Friday, September 09, 2016
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Man charged with sex assault of teen in Cook forest preserve
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Chicago Tribune

New Lawsuit Says Cook County Is Violating Juveniles’ Due Process
Thursday, September 08, 2016
WBEZ Public Radio

Editorial: Four lessons from murder case solved after 23 years
Monday, September 05, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Tonight: Violence-Prevention Program Starts in Hospitals Instead of Streets
Friday, September 02, 2016
WTTW Chicago Tonight

John Fountain: What I told inmates at Cook County Jail
Friday, September 02, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County Fall Events Schedule Now Available
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Plungers demonstrate improved water quality in Cal-Sag Channel
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for its newly remodeled General Headquarters
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

New ‘Bizarre’ Gang Surfaces in Cook County Jail
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Commissioner seeks to exempt clubs featuring DJs from amusement tax law
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County not ‘in the business of saying what is and what is not fine arts,’ according to CFO
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Chicago Reader

Editorial: You're fired, Crawford. You'll be hired. Buy your own robe.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Assessor's Office: More Than $6.1M Returned to Taxpayers in August
Friday, August 26, 2016
NBC Channel 5 Chicago

Have some wheel fun at the Botanic Garden
Friday, August 26, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Randy Blaser: Cook County Board's cash grab – governance or performance art?
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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