Friday, July 18, 2008

Fitz on Cook County Jail

I haven't read it yet but I know a guy who refused 180 days community service and took ten days at the House instead. A big mistake even though ten days got reduced to a weekend to get inmates out quickly.

Years ago I tutored inmates with Safer Foundation. I was leaning by an open, but still barred and screened, door to a fire escape because the airconditioning had broken. A inmate casually told me I might get shot by guards and should step away from the door. The casual way he mentioned my getting shot has stuck with me.

From Today's Trib,
In a scathing report released Thursday, federal authorities said that a culture exists at Cook County Jail in which inmates are systematically beaten by guards and medical care is so substandard that some inmates have died.

The Justice Department threatened legal action if steps aren't taken to ensure that inmates' basic constitutional rights aren't routinely violated.

In the 98-page report, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division called the complex violent and pointed to a raft of problems ranging from unsanitary conditions to inadequate mental health care and suicide-prevention measures.

At a news conference, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called on the Cook County Board and Sheriff Tom Dart to fix a dangerous jail that is "woefully inadequate."

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