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 Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Juvenile detention center population keeps falling
But reform work not finished, officials say

Monday, August 20, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County has been able to reduce the number of teens locked up in its juvenile detention center, but there's still much to be done before the mission to reform the long-troubled facility is complete, officials said Monday.

Nearly 270 minors who otherwise faced detention for alleged crimes were instead placed in community- and faith-based programs in the past three months, Chief Judge Timothy Evans said. The diversion programs helped the youths with studies, work skills, substance-abuse and mental health issues that led to their trouble in the first place.

"We can address those needs with the children instead of just lock them up and release them at some future date," Evans said in a telephone interview. He praised Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for helping to secure $800,000 to pay for the effort and added that it costs far less than the $616 a day to lock up a youth.

As a result of the new programs, there are on average fewer than 250 youths a day at the juvenile detention center, down about 50 from a year earlier, Preckwinkle said Monday.

That's also down from the peak of 800 a day in the early 2000s and less than the 450 a day five years ago, when a federal court judge appointed national expert Earl Dunlap to take over the center. The goal was to fix its myriad woes, including a history of overcrowding, filthy conditions and abuse of the children it was supposed to help.

On Monday, Preckwinkle spoke to 19 teenagers held at the Near West Side facility. She told them that last December, she concluded that the best long-term solution is to shutter the aging center and set up four to six smaller facilities throughout the county.

"I think that the research has shown that it's better for the young people to be in smaller facilities that are closer to the communities in which they live," Preckwinkle said afterward.

"The less like a prison you can make the detention for the young people, the better off they are," she added. "You don't want the Juvenile Temporary Center to be a pipeline to the Department of Corrections."

Dunlap said Monday that the decades-old facility "is a monstrosity" that is poorly designed for its use and lacks needed technology. Three better-designed regional facilities would be smarter and cost less to run, he said.

Dunlap also said the county needs better ways to treat mentally ill youths, many of whom end up at the center but would be better served elsewhere. That, in turn, would further lower the center's population, he said.

Benjamin Wolf, associate legal director of the ACLU of Illinois, which filed the federal suit that led to Dunlap's appointment, also praised efforts to lower the population but cautioned that "there's more to be done."

Both Evans and Preckwinkle agreed that more could be done to lower the number of teens at the detention center.

News of the latest drop in the center's population comes as Dunlap, its transitional administrator, is preparing to end his oversight period, most likely near the end of winter. When he departs, Evans will take control of the center, with the County Board holding the purse strings.

Preckwinkle and Commissioner Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago, meanwhile, have proposed setting up an advisory board to keep a spotlight on the needs of children at the center after the departure of Dunlap, their constant champion for the last five years.

Dunlap, noting the crucial role that courts, police and communities play in determining the fate of alleged juvenile offenders, said any such board should focus on the entire juvenile justice system, not just the center.

Preckwinkle agreed. "We need their help not just on this facility, but what we are going to do over the long term," she said.




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