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.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



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

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 arenít 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