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 has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



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

EDITORIAL: Foxx should steer clear of donations from property tax lawyers
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Restoration on Cook County Hospital could begin this summer
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Curbed Chicago

26 inmates charged with violence toward guards at Cook County Jail
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County assessor not cooperating with investigation, IG complains
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON: County repeal of soda tax was a mortal mistake
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

SNEED EXCLUSIVE: Developer plans to make old county hospital a community anchor
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Western Springs Board reconsiders opting out of county minimum wage law
Friday, January 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Why more Chicago hospitals are getting into the housing business
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago hospitals help lower health care bills by housing the homeless
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown runs out of excuses on e-filing
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Ethics board fines Cook County assessor $41,000 over political donations from lawyers
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County wants seniors to confirm they’re still seniors
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Evanston Now

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown ordered to improve public access to electronic records
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Foxx focuses on ‘bigger picture’ in first year as state’s attorney
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

As disparity in water rates persists, Cook County Board searches for answers
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Kim Foxx Concerned With ‘Justice, Not Convictions’
Monday, January 08, 2018
CBS Chicago

Foxx on hiring of outside lawyers by top aide: 'We're going to look at it from soups to nuts'
Monday, January 08, 2018
Chicago Fox 32

Interim chief supervision, probation officer named
Friday, January 05, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Roseland Community Hospital lays off 7 percent of staff, cuts pay
Friday, January 05, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lake County spent $4.9 million on uncompleted e-filing system, records show
Thursday, January 04, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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