Growing number of inmates calls for more beds at Cook Co. Jail

It was moving day Saturday behind the barbed wire fence of Cook County Jail, as inmates helped to haul in dozens of used beds to house some of their own.

Sophia Ansari, Cook County Sheriff’s Office said “We’re delivering 37 beds today in anticipation of their use as the jail population is climbing at Cook County.”

beds

WGN’s cameras were invited in, to show where less-violent offenders will be placed, temporarily as the jail at 26th and California inches closer to its maximum levels of just more than 10,000 inmates.

“Still at that point we’re doing the best we can to accommodate as many people as we can put on electronic monitoring we are,” Ansari said.

A jail employee said it happens every year– as the jail population increases during the warmer months, more beds are brought in.

In March, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle asked Sheriff Tom Dart to release 1,500 detainees to home monitoring, instead of keeping them behind bars, saving bed space and money.

“I am confident that we can find 1,500 people who can safely be put on electronic monitoring given that 70% of the people in the jails awaiting trial are in jail for non-violent offenses.”

In a statement, Cook County’s Chief Judge Timothy Evans said the federal court has given the sheriff “Absolute authority to release, on his own, up to 1,500 detainees on electronic monitoring at any given time.”

The sheriff’s department says that space is quickly used up, which is why they’re making room– so inmates don’t sleep on the floor.

Ansari says “There’s only a certain population we can, so for those we can, we are. But until then and things change we’re kind of stuck housing all those people as best as we can.”

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11 comments

  • Wisconsinite

    10,000 plus for Cook County alone ?conceal carry would make a big change. When are the law abiding citizens going too demand their rites. Time to stand up people and do something for your prtection

  • kirby1414

    Bring back the death penalty – – that ought to free up some beds…and with any luck – the 'fear factor' will keep some future killers thinking that using that unregistered gun may not be the best idea they ever had…

  • reignmaker1911

    For those "real intelligent,"members of society that left the a fore mentioned comments. If you had taken ANY time to read, you would know that the population of Cook County Jail is comprised of over 70% non-violent. Illinois leads the country in locking up individuals for punitive charges. That means individuals that would receive a ticket anywhere else in the country for something like a bag of weed will be incarcerated here. Chicago's homicide rate is over 75% unsolved therefore the murderers, the real killers are out here with you!! Unless you smoke a little bud from time to time. That means, based on statistics you are probably next to be locked up!!!!

  • Reignmaker1911

    You know what. I had written a real harsh response to Umbrella, but being a published author now and all around professional, I deleted it to publish this more adult response. The story is about the entire inmate population, which consists of 70% non-violent offenders. No, the story was not about mj smokers, nor was my comment. The comment was about an individual's likelyhood to be arrested in Chicago for something small LIKE weed. You really smart person!!!

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