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:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



New Cook County phone contract will save families money
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will sign a contract Tuesday to drastically reduce the cost of phone calls for jail detainees and their families.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012
WBEZ
by Rob Wildeober

For a long time inmates at the Cook County Jail and their mostly poor families have been hammered by the high cost of phone calls. That's partly because the county has been making a profit from the calls detainees make to people outside. But county board President Toni Preckwinkle will sign a new contract Tuesday to significantly reduce the cost of those calls. The county will continue to make $300,000 a month off the deal. Cecily Cortez works as a housekeeper at the Marriott Hotel on Michigan Avenue and has a son.  Her fiancé was charged with residential burglary. The calls from him are expensive, but she said they're priceless and way better than letters. Preckwinkle: Inmate phone calls should not be county revenue source Cook County phone contract costs inmates and families "You get to hear his voice, feel his emotions through his words and pretty much it's just more contact rather than something written,” Cortez said. The cost of phone calls is tough on Monica Ingram too.  She’s a nurse providing homecare for a quadriplegic person. She recently received a text from her cell phone company saying she needed to pay her bill before she could receive more collect calls from the jail. She'd already spent $60 on the calls that week and broke down into tears as she said she’s been forced to start ignoring her son's calls. “That bothers me and that bothers me, because he always says 'don't stress, I don't want you to stress over anything' but I got to deny his calls sometimes," Ingram said. "What can you do?”  Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.The county has given an exclusive contract to Securus Technologies, a company that, according to its website, operates phone systems in 2,200 jails and prisons across the country. Securus charges inflated phone rates then pays back to Cook County 57.5 percent of the revenue. When WBEZ first reported on this last spring, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she thought it was wrong for the county to view inmates as a revenue source, but the county continues to make $300,000 a month from the contract. And next year's budget counts on at least another $3 million. Preckwinkle's long-term plan is still to stop the practice. “So the president has made it abundantly clear that by 2014 all of the calls in Cook County will be revenue neutral, or I won't be here," said Cook County chief information officer Lydia Murray.  "We will not be talking.  So she has made it abundantly clear that this year is a transition year and we're lowering the rates.” Since September, it’s been Murray's job to oversee the contract. She negotiated the new deal with the phone company, which Preckwinkle is announcing Tuesday. “They are going to cut many of the calls in half and double the time that detainees can talk to their family and friends,” Murray said. For example, Securus charges a more than $3 connection fee for every call and calls are cut off after 15 minutes so the caller has to pay another connection fee.  Now calls can last as long as 30 minutes.  Including the per-minute rates, under the new deal a 30-minute call will cost $7. Last spring, that would have cost $30. Under Preckwinkle the county was able to ring out millions of dollars in concessions from Securus. The company did not immediately return calls for comment. Cook County Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin said it seems the county wasn't paying much attention to how the contract affected the families of inmates. “I think that we were asleep at the switch,” Suffredin said. “The company sees this as a very valuable contract for them, and once we put some pressure on them they seemed very amenable to re-negotiating this contract.” The new deal extends the Securus contract by a year, which means it gets to keep exclusive access to 9,000 detainees who make 160,000 calls a month. Under the new plan, detainees and their families will have fewer calling plans to choose from, but a 15-minute call will be $4 instead of $10 or $15. The price could come down even more if the county gives up its $3.5 million in yearly profits by 2014.


Recent Headlines

It's time to modernize the assessor's office
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Body found in vehicle at Cook County Forest Preserve near Hoffman Estates
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Daily Herald

Local legislators tout efforts to help those facing mental health issues
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Pioneer Press

It's time to modernize the assessor's office
Monday, February 18, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

EDITORIAL: We could have taken Gary Martin’s gun away
Monday, February 18, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Hours before Aurora mass shooting, former mayors met in Chicago to discuss strategies to reduce gun violence
Friday, February 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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