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.
   
     
     
     



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

Cook County board to vote on new budget today
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
WGN Channel 9

Preckwinkle agrees to fewer Cook County job cuts; hundreds of layoffs still in works
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Teamsters Local 700 Files for Temporary Restraining Order Against Cook County Merit Board
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

How Cook County finally got a new budget
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

ONTIVEROS: I think I miss that soda pop tax
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Budget Cuts Expected For Cook County Public Guardian’s Office
Monday, November 20, 2017
CBS Chicago

Ex-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he's running again
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

More than 300 Cook County employees will lose jobs to balance budget
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail Population Down 15 Percent After Bond Reforms
Monday, November 20, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Stroger vs. Preckwinkle: Hide your wallets.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

After momentous week, prosecutor Kim Foxx says 'we have to right wrongs'
Monday, November 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Police union president slams Foxx, prosecutors after exonerations
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

MIHALOPOULOS: Will pop-tax anger unseat Preckwinkle, or fizzle out?
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

After Warning of 'Painful Cuts,' Preckwinkle to Unveil 2018 Budget Amendment
Friday, November 17, 2017
NBC Chicago

Watchdog: Quit stalling on Cook County justice system data
Friday, November 17, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

The Week in Review: Record Wave of Exonerations Tied to Rogue Cop
Friday, November 17, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Preckwinkle, some commissioners say enough votes for amended budget
Friday, November 17, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle: Nothing Pleasant About Hundreds Of Layoffs
Friday, November 17, 2017
CBS Chicago

Cook County commissioners get behind Preckwinkle's budget cuts
Friday, November 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Chuy Garcia Sole Cook County Commissioner Iffy on Budget
Friday, November 17, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

all news items

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