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:  
   
 
 

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 first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



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

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicagoís 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 Jailís 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 suffredin.org

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
WTTW News

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.
^ TOP