Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Justice Department sets terms to end jail oversight

Friday, May 14, 2010
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
by Pat Milhizer

The Cook County Jail is a step closer to being free from federal oversight, under an agreement between the federal government and the county that the U.S. Department of Justice filed Thursday in federal court.

For the county, this has been a long time coming.

In 1974, a group of inmates protested crowded jail conditions by filing a federal class-action lawsuit against the sheriff. The result was a court order — the Duran consent decree — that dictates how the sheriff must control the jail population, in part to ensure that inmates don't have to sleep on floors.

In paving a path to end the Duran decree, the DOJ agreement mandates new procedures to address concerns raised in a 2008 federal investigation that determined the jail systematically violated the constitutional rights of inmates.

That investigation found instances of jail staff using excessive force against inmates and failing to protect them from harm by other inmates. The probe also concluded that the staff didn't provide adequate medical or mental care, leading to several inmate deaths.

Though the new agreement focuses on problems at the jail, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has expected and wanted it.

"We welcome an agreement that allows us to dissolve the costly, 35-year-old Duran consent decree and which properly recognizes the sheriff can only be responsible for corrections issues, laying responsibility for medical care and maintenance at the feet of the bureau of health and board president, respectively," Dart said in a statement.

Dart was referring to the fact that if the deal is approved by U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall, the Duran decree would end. Then, federal oversight would be temporary and focus on the county departments that are responsible for each of the three aspects of running the facility: inmate control, building maintenance and inmate health care.

Instead of monitoring the sheriff for all of the conditions of the jail, federal authorities would monitor only the sheriff for how his office handles the inmate population. The County Board president would be monitored for facility maintenance, and the county health system would be scrutinized for the medical treatment of inmates.

The agreement requires the sheriff's office to hire 448 new correctional officers and have them on duty by the end of the year. An additional 174 correctional officers must be added to the staff by March 30, 2011.

The sheriff also has to install more video cameras to the common areas of the jail and conduct more inspections to find contraband and weapons in jail cells. In addition, inmates who are hurt by staff must have their injuries photographed.

Staff at the jail hospital must develop policies to ensure that inmates receive constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care, including suicide prevention.

"We are pleased that with the cooperation of Sheriff Dart and the county, we have achieved a rigorous, comprehensive agreement that will remedy the unconstitutional conditions that were found at the Cook County Jail," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement. "Inmates are entitled to conditions of confinement that pass constitutional muster."

To ensure that the county complies with the agreement, four independent monitors will be appointed. The sheriff, the County Board president and the health department could be free from federal oversight if they maintain compliance with the new deal for 18 months.

In his statement, Dart said one of his top goals since taking office in 2006 was to figure out how to free the jail from the Duran consent decree.

"My next goal," Dart said, "is to build upon all that we've done so far at the jail so that after 18 months of compliance by my office, we will be able to publicly announce that decades of costly federal oversight at the Cook County Jail have finally come to an end."

As of Friday, no date had been set for Kendall to consider the new agreement.

pmilhizer@lbpc.com



Recent Headlines

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

FBI: Ex-employee alleges Dorothy Brown picked up cash payoffs at bagman's home
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Demolition of MWRD dam to clear way for fish and recreation
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Tom Dart to pair inmates with pet dogs
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County Minimum Wage, Sick Time Advisory Questions Approved for November Ballot
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

Editorial: Berrios and Kaegi: What a new assessor can and can't fix
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Your Personal Data May Be Exposed in Cook County Traffic Records
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
CBS Chicago

Garcia avoids public tiff with Preckwinkle, delays plan for county revenue forecasting commission
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County TIF districts bring in $1 billion
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco
Friday, July 20, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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