Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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.

  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.

Accidental release of Cook County inmates blamed on paperwork

Wednesday, October 09, 2013
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

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

Illinois hospitals seek reform of Medicaid managed care system
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Effingham Daily News

Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic’s Annual Report
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Special to

Glenview open house a 'one stop service' for new, existing residents to learn about town offerings
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Glenview Announcements

all news items

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