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Nine year Cook County Jail lawsuit settled with $1 million payout

Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by John Byrne

The Cook County Board of Commissionersagreed today to pay out more than $1 million to settle a nine-year-old federal lawsuit by female inmates at the county jail who said their civil rights were violated when the facility repeatedly went on lock down.

The four inmates alleged the extended weekend lock downs at the facility in 2003 and earlier infringed on their rights by locking them in while guards conducted security checks. Jail officials did not respond promptly to inmates' requests for help during the lock downs, the suit alleges. "During lock downs, the 'Jail' shirks its duty to protect inmates from harm from other inmates by isolating them behind solid steel cell doors with either two or three other detainees," the lawsuit reads.

The jail has since stopped the non-emergency lock downs.

Two inmates won judgments in federal court totaling $153,000. The county opted to pay two others $5,000 each to put an end to their ongoing suit. The county will pay attorneys for the plaintiffs $850,000 to cover their fees and costs from the past nine years.




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