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Cook County Jail Inmates Have Been Escaping From Restraints, Using Them As Weapons On Transport Buses

Tuesday, October 01, 2019
CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Inmates at the Cook County Jail are getting out of their restraints and violently attacking other inmates – and when they’re hurt, you pay the bill.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot has been digging into this issue for several months, and obtained video that reveals just how often these attacks happen.

We spent more than eight months sifting through the video taken onboard inmate transport buses. It shows disturbing images of Cook County Jail inmates using what are called Blue Box restraints as weapons.

The restraints have a waist chain with a lock and handcuffs attached to it. In the video, one inmate gets help from another inmate, who pushes the waist chain down twice.

Another inmate also gets help from a fellow detainee, who pulls his hand out of a cuff.

Yet another inmate tries to get out of the restraint on his own.

Another video shows a loose restraint used to choke someone. The restraint is swung repeatedly, leaving victims bloodied and barely able to stand.

Several sources tell CBS 2 this takes place at least once a month. We’ve obtained seven incident reports detailing how it all happens inside the transport buses.

The passengers on the buses are some of our most violent offenders.

The cost to taxpayers comes in medical bills and lawsuits. Even the Cook County Sheriff’s office couldn’t provide us with a total.

We’ve learned since our investigation that the most violent inmates, with a history of getting out of their restraints, are now being transported separately instead of on the buses.

A Cook County Sheriff’s Office representatives said unfortunately, on extremely rare occasions, detainees manage to defeat restraints. Staff are regularly trained on how to apply the restraints properly and complete random restraint checks.

The manufacturer of the Blue Box restraint, did not respond to our requests for comment on this story.



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