Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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 Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.

Boot camp inmates put to work demolishing blighted buildings

Thursday, June 12, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times
by Frank Main

Cook County inmates are now helping knock down abandoned buildings in the south suburbs.

For about eight months, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has required boot camp inmates to participate in a job-training program in which they help demolish blighted structures, said Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Jail.

The inmates have continued to participate in military drills intended to instill discipline. But since November, they’ve also been knocking down buildings in Ford Heights and Robbins, Smith said.

“Without any real evidence that this military-style programming has had an impact on recidivism, we have refocused the program on vocational skills utilized in neighborhood restoration,” she said.

Boot camp came under scrutiny last year when the Chicago Sun-Times reported that judges were improperly sentencing armed robbers and other violent felons to the decades-old program for nonviolent offenders.

Since then, the sheriff’s office has reviewed the sentences of inmates entering the camp and checked with judges when those sentences appear improper. Dart also boosted oversight at the jail and suspended employees he felt weren’t doing enough to monitor boot-camp inmates after they were placed on supervision.

Because of the controversy, legislators introduced a bill this year to do away with boot camp, but it’s been stuck in committee.

Meanwhile, the number of inmates in boot camp has gradually dwindled, Smith said. Up to 150 inmates at a time have been in the boot camp in the past. Currently, though, there are only 22.

Dart sent a letter to judges last week encouraging them to send more inmates to boot camp — touting the program’s new mission and emphasizing that he’s improved oversight.

In the past, boot camp inmates lived for four months in the jail near 26th and California. Then they went on electronic monitoring for a month. Finally, they underwent drug testing for the remaining seven months of their year-long sentences.

Now they live on the jail grounds for six months and must be on electronic monitoring for the remainder of their supervision.

The inmates participate in the neighborhood restoration projects in the last two months they’re living on the jail grounds, Smith said. But they’re still required to continue to participate in the demolition projects after they are released on supervision, she said.

The boot-camp inmates have been moved from their old barracks to a new building on the jail complex, Smith said.

Dart plans to use the old barracks for a mental-health treatment program for inmates who’ve been released on electronic monitoring or are in the jail’s day-reporting program. The mental-health treatment program is expected to start in mid-July, Smith said.

Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicago’s only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

County harassment survey shows mixed faith in reporting system
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jail’s Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

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

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

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

all news items

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