CHICAGO -- Several Cook County jail inmates are free today thanks to Willie Wilson’s generosity.
The former mayoral and presidential candidate went to the jail with $15,000 dollars of his own money and bailed out a number of people charged with misdemeanors. The inmates couldn’t make bond on their
Wilson’s idea, which has the backing of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, is to make good things happen and give the men a chance to get out of the notoriously tough environment that many feel takes men convicted of minor offenses and turns them into hardened criminals.
Wilson himself has done a lot with his life. With the help of iconic Chicago businessman Ray Kroc, Wilson rose from poverty to own his own McDonald’s restaurants and then a medical supply company.
“It’s not a black thing, it’s a human thing, right?” he said. “And that is what we’re trying to be about.”
Wilson says they should be with their families or working or going to school, not serving time.
Along with their freedom and a second chance, Wilson gave each of the inmates $200 so they can afford to eat once they get out.
He also pledged to do more of this in 2017. He’s promising $50,000 next year to bond out non-violent offenders convicted of misdemeanors.