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Judge calls in leaders again on jail conditions

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Chicago Tribune

COOK COUNTY -- For the second time in less than a year, a federal judge wants to see Cook County commissioners on the issue of conditions in Cook County Jail.

The judge's request was made to commissioners Tuesday in a letter from the John Howard Association, the court-appointed watchdog, which expressed frustration for delays in making improvements at the facility.

Last November, in a closed-door meeting, U.S. District Judge George Marovich scolded commissioners for dragging their feet on hiring more jail guards. The budget approved earlier this year included 283 new positions.

However, the John Howard Association said the county has been slow to act on other agreed changes, including a staffing study and expansions to a pre-release center and the electronic monitoring program.

The federal court has jurisdiction over jail conditions under a consent decree entered in 1982 following a lawsuit filed by pretrial detainees.



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