Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Inmates reap fruits of labor at Cook County Jail's garden

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Chicago Tribune
by Jason George

Most gardens are protected by a ring of string and sometimes a scarecrow.

But with razor wire, armed guards and closed-circuit cameras, the garden at the Cook County Jail is a bit more secure for keeping things out--and in.

The jail celebrated the largest harvest ever from its garden Tuesday, with certificates for the detainees who have toiled the soil and a meal prepared with the fruits of their labor.

The 12-year-old program is run for detainees that are part of the Sheriff's Department of Community Supervision and Intervention system, which largely consists of drug offenders.

Louie Johnson, 31, was all smiles at the ceremony, wearing an orange inmate cap that didn't exactly match the standard farmer straw hat.

"My grandmother had a garden, but I haven't worked it since I was a kid," Johnson said.

He said a group of about 12 detainees visited the garden every morning to pick weeds, hoe and pull crops for a few hours.

Jail officials said more than 30 detainees participated in the program this year, with some leaving as they were transferred out of the jail or released.

"We couldn't do it without teamwork," said a 40-year-old man who gave his name as Kenny.

While some vegetables were used to feed guests, detainees and guards Tuesday, most of the 6,000 pounds of food is being donated to two Chicago nursing homes, said Ron Wolford, an educator with the University of Illinois Extension program, which partners with the jail on the garden.

Detainees said the meal of roasted peppers, bean salad, hot dogs and much more was a nice break from the usual bologna sandwich and Kool-Aid.

Crops in the 10,000-square-foot garden include tomatoes, squash, four varieties of peppers, eggplant, cabbage and several others.

Pumpkins and their vines climb the fences surrounding the garden.

"They're trying to escape," joked Bill Wallace, the executive director of the community program at the jail.

Jokes aside, the detainees' experience bears little similarity to those of the maximum-security inmates, who are housed in buildings that loom over the garden.

Detainees live in dormitory settings with no bars on the windows, they said. And they are all awaiting trial or serving short sentences, Wallace said.

They also must have no previous felony convictions.

While most of the detainees were awarded certificates of appreciation, Victor Velez was the only one present Tuesday who was commended for completing the Master Gardener program, a 60-hour course given through the University of Illinois.

Velez, 35, said he'll use his skills to help his family on their farm in Puerto Rico, although he and others said the detainees were their family for now.

"That's my brother today," David Rodriguez, 39, said pointing at Velez, who nodded.

Rodriguez said the garden experience allowed them to get to know their fellow detainees while giving them pride and peace.

"You get a little sense of freedom," he said. "It gives us our dignity back after we lost it in the madness."

 



Recent Headlines

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Applications
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

all news items

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