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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  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.
   
     
     
     



County Jail crowding statistics draw fire
American University study says sheriff used flawed formula

Thursday, September 29, 2005
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

A key statistic cited by Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan to justify more guards at the overcrowded County Jail is based on a flawed formula that exaggerates the problem, according to a county-funded study.

In criticizing the court system as too slow in processing cases, Sheahan told county commissioners in January that the long average length of stay for inmates was "the driving force behind our overcrowding problems." Commissioners responded by approving 283 more jail personnel at a cost of $14 million.

But a study released Wednesday by American University and professor Joseph Trotter took issue with the formula used by the sheriff's office and the John Howard Association, a court-appointed jail monitor.

The report called their calculation a "red herring," adding, "it overstates average length of stay and it inevitably invites unfavorable comparison with other jails which almost universally use one of two nationally accepted formulas."

The nationally accepted formulas determined Cook County's average length of stay to be about 37 days, compared with the 189 cited by Sheahan, said Trotter, who is director of the Justice Programs Office at American University.

Officials from the sheriff's office and the John Howard Association defended their approach.

"Numbers are numbers and it depends on how you compute them," Sheahan (the name as published has been corrected in this text) said.

The figure came as a surprise to Cook County officials who had asked Trotter to take a broad look at the court system and jail to help them deal with the long-standing federal consent decree that governs conditions in the facility.

The John Howard Association will include the figures using the new formula as well as those from the current approach in future reports filed with the federal court, said Charles Fasano, director of the association's prisons and jails program.

"Both are valid," Fasano said. "They give you two different perspectives on a problem."

Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for Sheahan, said the sheriff's office has used the same formula for years. The important factor is that the results have shown an upward trend in length of stay.

"They're not taking into account properly the number of inmates who are there on a long-term basis," Cunningham said. "And right now we have 28 inmates who have been there for five years" or more.

Trotter's figure puts Cook County squarely within the national average of big cities, one day more than in Los Angeles and seven to 11 days fewer than in New York City.

Despite the disagreement over the formula, all sides agree that the jail is overcrowded.

William Quinlan, chairman of the Cook County Judicial Advisory Council, said that by making changes to speed up court cases and other improvements, the day could be near when the chronically overcrowded jail has enough beds.

"It looks to me in short order we should be in a good situation to declare this a success," Quinlan said. "Right now, I don't think our situation is desperate. It fluctuates for a variety of reasons."

The daily population this year has averaged 9,996 inmates, according to the John Howard Association. There are 10,250 beds, although they are never all available at once, typically because of ongoing maintenance.

In addition, segregating the jail population creates pockets of overcrowding within divisions of the facility, Fasano said.

 



Recent Headlines

Elk Grove Village: County sales tax hike would cost us $866,000
Monday, July 06, 2015
Daily Herald

Hospital system touts year's worth of achievements
Sunday, July 05, 2015
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle's pension-change fantasy
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Commentary: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer: I won't vote for a sales tax hike
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Nix the Toni Tax. Then fix Cook County.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Opinion: Cook County sales tax must be raised
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Mastercard, Visa stop escort ad payments
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle blames state lawmakers for proposed sales tax hike
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Jail Nurse Files Lawsuit Claiming She Was Fired For Blowing Whistle On Staff Stealing Medications
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
CBS local

Preckwinkle to move fast on sales tax hike
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Several forest preserve campgrounds reopening this summer
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Chicago police get some quiet help--from Sheriff Tom Dart
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Opinion: Cook County sales tax must be raised
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Who likes a sales tax hike? Not too many
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Commentary: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer: I won't vote for a sales tax hike
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

West suburban business leaders leery of proposed Cook County sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle blames state lawmakers for proposed sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago transitional center, program for mentally disabled prison inmates helps them learn coping skills
Monday, June 29, 2015
The News-Sentinel

Misdiagnosis still covered for immunity
Monday, June 29, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Judge retiring after 15 years on the bench
Monday, June 29, 2015
Fox 32 Chicago

all news items

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