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.
   
     
     
     



Accidental release of Cook County inmates blamed on paperwork

Wednesday, October 09, 2013
ABC7
by Ben Bradley

The Cook County Sheriff says a few incorrect strokes on a piece of paper are all it takes to free the wrong inmate. On Wednesday night, there's an update to an exclusive story ABC7 first reported in February, involving inmates mistakenly set free from the Cook County Jail.

Who's responsible for fixing it? That depends on who you ask. ABC7 has learned a resolution will be submitted to the county board on Thursday calling for a computer-based system for tracking inmates and whether they should be released. The jail's paper problem is nothing new. The fact that it's so old is the problem.

It's not keys that stand between an inmate and freedom but paper. Lots and lots of paper.

"When I leave every night and look at those 10,000 packs, I don't know what nightmare is laying there," said Michael Holmes, assistant director, Cook County Jail.

These stacks contain the files for each of the 10,000 inmates at the Cook County Jail. When an inmate returns from court, it's up to the sheriff's staff to interpret handwritten orders from a judge. This one says "release this case only." But the inmate had another case that required him to return to prison.

"This is for one person we have here in the jail, this is his paperwork," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. "Most people would say this is Tom doing a history tour of what it was like in the 1800s at the jail. No, this is today."

Twelve hundred inmates are moved to and from court appearances each weekday. Ten thousand pieces of paper accompany them.

"Lee, Donald.... Oh wait, oh wait, that's Lee, David. Let me figure out what's going on here," said a Cook County Jail guard in February, 2013.

It's a cavalcade of accused criminals. As we first reported in February, paperwork problems allowed a convicted killer three days of freedom. Since then, there have been more accidental releases.

"We make mistakes and we have to get better but when you have a system like this it's inherent you're going to have mistakes. This is not something we should accept," said Dart.

For 10 years now, the county has been considering modernizing its court and jail records systems. Little progress has been made.

"I've been here since '85. Really nothing has changed. Just more inmates and more paperwork," said Holmes.

It's the clerk of the court, Dorothy Brown, whose office is responsible for communicating a judge's order to the sheriff. Brown's spokesperson on Wednesday afternoon told ABC7 information on what should happen to inmates is entered into a computer system once a court call is concluded. She says it's the sheriff's department that is impatient and asks for the faster, handwritten orders.



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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