Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

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



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

New Cook County judge presiding over weddings after refusing traffic court post
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook Co. Jail program lets inmates learn photography, creative writing, etc.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Fox 32 Chicago

Illinois soda tax could cut health costs, raise $561 million in revenue annually
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Celebrate Arbor Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Wheeling opts out of county minimum wage, sick-leave ordinances
Monday, April 24, 2017
Daily Herald

Gun ranges in Chicago could be allowed in more areas under proposal
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

ARCHIVES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

New direct access health care program begins enrolling Cook County residents
Monday, April 17, 2017
Daily Northwestern

Stakes are high for workers, businesses as Illinois considers minimum wage hike
Monday, April 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Stop Congress from trashing Illinois’ concealed gun protections
Monday, April 17, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County CEO Jay Shannon: ACA repeal a threat to public health—and the public system's financial health
Monday, April 17, 2017
Fierce Healthcare

4 officers injured in Cook County Jail after inmates attempt to light jumpsuits on fire
Sunday, April 16, 2017
WLS ABC Eyewitness News

Sneed exclusive: Social media factors into crime-fighting plan
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Former Doctor For Cook County Misspent Public Funds On Piano, Travel: Inspector General
Friday, April 14, 2017
CBS Chicago

Commissioners who took Cubs' ticket offer violated rules, county watchdog says
Friday, April 14, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Highly acclaimed Cook County judge indicted by Feds
Thursday, April 13, 2017
WLS Chicago

Alleged getaway driver Joshua Smith charged in Judge Myles murder
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County shells out $1.6 million to cover mistakes in federal grant applications
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Clerk’s office: David Orr lauds legislation making birth records free of charge for homeless, domestic violence victims, formerly incarcerated
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Dorothy Brown's case-management plan advances after earlier trust questions
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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