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.

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



Juvenile center chided on reform
Staffing problems continue, report says

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Ofelia Casillas

Despite encouraging changes in leadership, reform has not trickled down to frontline workers at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, according to a new report by a prisoner advocacy group.

During a late August visit, observers from the John Howard Association of Illinois found that the controversial center suffers from a shortage of counselors--especially good counselors, the group concluded in a report for release Wednesday.

"Safety for children will remain an issue until the culture, standard of care and lack of professionalism that prevailed among some staff for a number of years is completely eliminated," the report warns.

J.W. Fairman, the center's interim superintendent since Aug. 1, acknowledged that problems continue, but he said change takes time.

"It takes time to get everybody on the same page when you are taking over the operation of a troubled institution," Fairman said. "As long as progress is being made, I'm happy about it. Is the administration satisfied? No, but we are happy that there is movement."

Last year, the Tribune and other news media reported that former residents alleged they had been involved in violence at the center, some at the hands of staff members.

In September, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas demanding photographs, internal reports and other documents in a growing criminal investigation into alleged violence and abuse.

Benjamin Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said it was important to remember that new leaders were only recently assigned to their positions.

"It is a difficult change process, and I don't think we've done it yet," Wolf said. "But I think it is true that we remain concerned about the safety of the children and about the behavior of some staff."

John Howard advocates applauded improvements like the addition of two-way radios on living units, a crackdown on contraband and plans to better acclimate new residents when they arrive.

Still, advocates said staffing levels fell short of optimal among floor managers, supervisors, detention counselors and caseworkers. And the quality of some detention counselors continued to worry advocates, who called for disciplining or discharging counselors who mishandle residents.

On a more mundane level, the observers noted that some counselors interact little with the teenagers in their care, spending their time eating or doing paperwork.

"Our visitors were, as in the past, concerned about the dedication, interest and suitability of some of the line staff," the report said.

The John Howard observers reported five incidents during three weeks in which staff members were alleged to have injured children.

A girl told advocates that staff members threw her down on concrete, causing swelling to the side of her face, the report said.

Other children said they got nosebleeds or head contusions while being restrained by staffers. Another child said a staff member trying to break up a fight accidentally struck him.

"The detention center's medical unit records show continuing allegations by children of injuries caused by staff, with some injuries verified by medical observation," the report found.

Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who has advocated for reforms at the center, said the report calls for radical change.

"This report underscores the need for a house cleaning throughout the senior management and more aggressive steps to fix this troubled institution," Claypool said.

County Commissioner Mike Quigley questioned whether the John Howard Association was going far enough in its criticisms, saying the group had "overstayed their welcome in terms of really being helpful.

"In the end this place does not make a turnaround until the whole culture is changed through putting professionals in place, taking politics out of it and letting them run this facility appropriately," Quigley said.

County Board President Bobbie Steele applauded the report and said that it shows management changes are contributing to progress.

The ACLU originally filed a federal suit on behalf of center residents in 1999 but settled nearly four years ago when the county agreed to improve conditions. Dissatisfied with the results, ACLU attorneys went back to court in 2005 and have been battling with county lawyers in court ever since.

U.S. District Judge John Nordberg has chastised county officials for failing to address repeated reports of violence against residents.

In June, Nordberg appointed Brenda Welch as compliance administrator for the detention facility, giving her the duty of implementing the recommendations of a four-member panel charged with improving the center.

Welch's memos, reported in the Tribune, portrayed continuing problems with hygiene and safety among the juveniles at the center.

In the next few weeks, a plan drafted by independent experts to make additional improvements at the detention center is expected to be completed and submitted to a federal judge, Wolf said.



Recent Headlines

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

Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

FBI: Ex-employee alleges Dorothy Brown picked up cash payoffs at bagman's home
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Demolition of MWRD dam to clear way for fish and recreation
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Tom Dart to pair inmates with pet dogs
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County Minimum Wage, Sick Time Advisory Questions Approved for November Ballot
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

Editorial: Berrios and Kaegi: What a new assessor can and can't fix
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Your Personal Data May Be Exposed in Cook County Traffic Records
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
CBS Chicago

Garcia avoids public tiff with Preckwinkle, delays plan for county revenue forecasting commission
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County TIF districts bring in $1 billion
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco
Friday, July 20, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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