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:  
   
 
 

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 is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Grant youth prisons a divorce

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Illinois' maximum security prison in Joliet for youths is a haunting place. Adolescents sit idle in dimly lit day rooms filled with jabbering TVs; a cage in the corner serves as a kind of threat to the unruly; there are echoes of thick iron doors slamming.

Mouth off to a guard, and you can get up to 30 days of isolation in a tiny cell. Education, recreation and psychological treatment have so dwindled in Illinois youth prisons they're now practically considered to be luxuries. Juveniles' guards receive no special training, so too many regard their charges as mere security risks.

There are a hundred reasons why radical change is needed within the state's juvenile prison system. Legislators this fall are expected to vote on a measure that would separate the juvenile prison system from the adult system, a necessary first step toward that reform.

Rehabilitation is a quaint notion abandoned long ago in Illinois youth corrections. Top prison officials admitted as much Tuesday during a House committee hearing about the separation measure. "Reality is, as states have found, when juvenile corrections is housed with adult corrections, it has resulted in a trend toward what's called `the adultification of juvenile justice,'" said Kurt Friedenauer, who oversees the juvenile division.

State Corrections Chief Roger E. Walker Jr. on Tuesday supported the idea of separating the juvenile department. "If we are going to change the juvenile system, this might be a good way to do that," he said.

Inmate figures help explain how the juvenile division gradually became an institutional afterthought. In 1988, the total corrections budget in Illinois was $410 million, and the number of adult inmates hovered at 21,000, while juveniles numbered about 1,200.

Today, the corrections budget is $1.2 billion. The adult population has exploded to 44,000 inmates, while the juvenile population is only slightly higher at 1,400, after a brief spike in the mid-1990s. The rising cost of adult incarceration has put a strain on the budget and has pushed the state's emphasis away from rehabilitating youthful offenders.

Cathryn Crawford, an attorney who represents minors in Illinois prisons, said one teen incarcerated at Joliet called her to ask if she could help get him a transfer to an adult prison because he heard he could take college courses there. "He told me, `I took my G.E.D., and there's nothing more for me to do here.'"

"These are exactly the kinds of conditions that prompted lawsuits elsewhere," said Betsy Clarke, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Initiative. In recent years, federal lawsuits have forced a handful of states to separate their juvenile prisons from their adult systems. Today, 40 states have separate systems.

This is not a popular idea with leaders of unions that represent Corrections Department employees. They argue it will create more bureaucracy and that they can start doing better by kids if they just have more money. Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot more than money to change what has become a counterproductive, punitive culture in juvenile corrections. It's going to take a new start, a new mindset, and a separate department.



Recent Headlines

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials arenít sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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