Former Cook County Jail inmates lining up for cash

December 28, 2010

by Robert Wildeboer

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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Thousands of people who were locked up in the Cook County Jail are lining up to get some cash. Cook County recently agreed to pay $55 million to inmates who were subjected to mass strip searches at the jail. Men were routinely forced to stand naked together in a hallway for the procedure which included cavity searches. A jury found the county liable for the practice.

Most people who were held in the prison between 2004 and 2009 are eligable for some cash. Mike Kanovitz sued on behalf of the inmates. He said notices of the settlement have been sent out to more than 200,000 people.

"The response has been fantastic," Kanovitz said. " I know that the claims administrator in one day received something like 40 thousand pieces of mail."

Kanovitz said the individuals may get up to $1,000 each but more money may be coming. He said some of the companies that insure the county have refused to pay. He said he's still suing them and hoping to get even more than the $55 million that the county is already shelling out.