Cook County board aims to end federal oversight at jail by 2013

March 15, 2011

Cook County commissioners have a target date to end federal supervision of the county jail. On Tuesday, commissioners agreed to comply with federal guidelines at the jail by the beginning of 2013.

The federal government has been monitoring operations at the jail for decades after problems of overpopulation, understaffing and inmate abuse.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says she wants to focus on programs that would decrease the jail population.

"There are people who are sitting in jail for minor drug offenses, for prostitution, for shoplifting that I don't think are any danger, really, to the rest of us and we need to figure how to work with those offenders in a way that helps them turn their lives around rather than have them just sit in jail," Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle says taxpayers pay $147 each day one inmate is in county jail.