WBEZ | Cook County Jail http://www.wbez.org/tags/cook-county-jail Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lawsuit: Man beaten in Cook County jail more than 10 hours after judge ordered his release http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-man-beaten-cook-county-jail-more-10-hours-after-judge-ordered-his-release-110788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.25.21 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Under the authority of Sheriff Tom Dart, Cook County inmates who&rsquo;ve already been freed by a judge are taken back into the jail&rsquo;s general population while they wait to be processed out.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s a practice that&rsquo;s been called unconstitutional. and more than a year ago Dart told WBEZ&nbsp; he&rsquo;d fix it.</p><p>But little has changed.</p><p>For one of the men who went through this process, Edward Shultz, going back into lockup turned out to be dangerous.</p><p>Shultz went before a Cook County judge in suburban Bridgeview around 10 in the morning on May 8, 2013.</p><p>There he pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon, a misdemeanor.</p><p>Shultz had been picked up about three weeks earlier after police officers in Oak Lawn found brass knuckles in his glove compartment during a traffic stop. He was taken to Cook County jail at 26th Street and California Avenue on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side and stayed there while he awaited trial.</p><p>After he pleaded guilty, the judge ruled that the 20-or-so days he had spent waiting was sufficient punishment and ordered Shultz be released.</p><p>Shultz says he was relieved and excited to go back to his family.</p><p>Before he could do that, he was taken back to a holding cell where he says he waited more than seven hours to be bused back to the jail.</p><p>Around 6 p.m. in the evening, Shultz was in handcuffs being ushered back into Cook County jail.</p><p>&ldquo;By the time they get you back to the jail, you know, the shift change comes and they leave you and you&rsquo;re still in handcuffs and they put you in a large room all handcuffed together,&rdquo; Shultz says.</p><p>After that, Shultz was returned to the deck where he had been living and he started to gather his things.</p><p>&ldquo;I went into the washroom, a group of inmates walked in and started asking me questions and I told them I don&rsquo;t know I&rsquo;m just getting ready to go home. I was struck by an inmate. And at that time I was still conscious and about maybe six or seven more inmates ran in the bathroom on me,&rdquo; Shultz says.</p><p>After that, he says, he was knocked unconscious.</p><p>Another inmate came and helped him up, and offered him a rag to clean his face.</p><p>Then Shultz says he made a beeline for the jail&rsquo;s phones and made a collect call to his grandmother, Lucy Griffin.</p><p>WBEZ obtained a recording of that call, and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/edward-shultz-jail-phone-call">you can listen to it here</a>. In it, Shultz sounds disoriented. He pleads with his grandma to arrange for someone to pick him up outside of the jail, although he doesn&rsquo;t know exactly when he&rsquo;ll get out.</p><p>&ldquo;I just got beat up really bad,&rdquo; he tells her. &ldquo;The whole side of my head is swollen and face is swollen and my nose is broken.&rdquo;</p><p>When he tells her the judge had given him credit for time served, she asks &ldquo;Well, then why did you go back to jail?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Because you have to go back to jail until they call you out of here,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Shultz says it was only after he made the call that any guards noticed his injuries.</p><p>According to incident reports from the jail, Shultz had visible bumps and red marks on his head and face and a bloody nose.</p><p>Those reports list the time of the beating as 8:45 p.m., almost 11 hours after a judge had declared Shultz a free man.</p><p>The same month Shultz was attacked in a jail bathroom, Sheriff Tom Dart told WBEZ he wanted to change the way the jail handled inmates after a judge orders their release.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to get people out of the jail as quickly as possible,&rdquo; he said in an interview with WBEZ&rsquo;s Robert Wildeboer in May of 2013.</p><p>And Dart pointed to a pilot program that would allow workers in suburban courthouses to check for warrants and everything else so inmates can be discharged straight from court.</p><p>Cara Smith, the jail&rsquo;s executive director, says that program is now in every suburban courthouse.</p><p>But so far, it&rsquo;s only enabled two inmates to leave from the courthouse.</p><p>She says the sheriff&rsquo;s office is doing its &ldquo;very best&rdquo; to improve the discharge process. But she couldn&rsquo;t say that the wait time has gotten any shorter for the typical inmate.</p><p>&ldquo;Our two primary goals are overall to get people released as quickly as possible, but to make sure the right people are being released. We have a very, very antiquated system &hellip; it&rsquo;s paper-based primarily,&rdquo; Smith says. &ldquo;We have to be extremely careful that we&rsquo;re not releasing the wrong individual.&rdquo;</p><p>In order to do that, workers at the jail have to go through the paper records to check for outstanding warrants before they can let an inmate go.</p><p>Attorney Patrick Morrissey agrees the sheriff should be doing these thorough checks. But he says the process is way too long, and unsafe for the people waiting to be released.</p><p>&ldquo;These are people who are entitled to their freedom. And people who are entitled to be free should be released in the most efficient and timely manner,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Morrissey is representing Shultz in a lawsuit against Tom Dart and Cook County.</p><p>That lawsuit is on top of the ongoing class action suit brought over the discharge process.</p><p>Shultz&rsquo;s federal complaint blames poor supervision at the jail for his beating.</p><p>And it alleges that Shultz never should have been at the jail more than 10 hours after a judge had declared him a free man.</p><p>Morrissey says he knows it is tough to change a system as big and old as Cook County&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;But I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s been enough attention and focus by the sheriff&rsquo;s office to really retool the system,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>He adds that one fix could be to have a separate waiting room at the jail.</p><p>That would keep people who have already been freed away from the general population while their paperwork is processed.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/167302102&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="http://TWITTER.COM/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 05:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-man-beaten-cook-county-jail-more-10-hours-after-judge-ordered-his-release-110788 Views differ on job description in Cook sheriff's race http://www.wbez.org/news/views-differ-job-description-cook-sheriffs-race-109781 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/tom dart_AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Incumbent Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has much more money and name recognition than any of his three challengers for the March 18 Democratic primary. The contest has not been getting much attention.</p><p>But the race is underscoring how much the sheriff&rsquo;s job has changed since Dart took office in 2006.</p><p>On a recent chilly Monday morning, challenger Bill Evans greeted shivering commuters at the 95th Street &amp; Dan Ryan &lsquo;L&rsquo; stop, handing out campaign literature. One of his palm cards features a photo of a younger, shirtless Evans, from his days as a professional boxer.</p><p>Evans is a compact, energetic guy who is now fighting Dart for the sheriff&rsquo;s job in next month&rsquo;s primary. Like the other two challengers, Evans is pitching himself as a lawman -- a 23-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s police, who now works the graveyard shift as a lieutenant.</p><p>Evans walked over to some uniformed Chicago cops patrolling the train station. They are members of a group he sees as a key potential support base, especially after nabbing the endorsement of Chicago&rsquo;s police union in January.</p><p>&ldquo;Hopefully you guys consider me,&rdquo; Evans told the officers. &ldquo;Spread it around a little bit. We gotta stick together.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans admits he feels a bit like a duck out of water having to campaign for a job in law enforcement.</p><p>And that is a unique thing about the sheriff&rsquo;s post. It&rsquo;s a law enforcement job that requires a politician&rsquo;s savvy to get. Dart was won his 2006 election comfortably, after serving as a top aide to his predecessor, Democrat Michael Sheahan. Dart was handily re-elected in 2010.</p><p>He now faces his most crowded primary in years. In addition to Evans, Dart is being challenged by longtime Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s police officer <a href="http://www.bakerforchange.com/Platform.html">Sylvester Baker</a>, the only African-American in the race; and <a href="http://palkaforsheriff2014.com/about-ted-palka/">Tadeusz &ldquo;Ted&rdquo; Palka</a>, a former deputy sheriff.</p><p>(Palka did not respond to an interview request from WBEZ.)</p><p>Dart&rsquo;s office runs a county jail long troubled with overcrowding, provides security for courtrooms, and patrols parts of the county.</p><p>But Dart has expanded the job description during his two terms in office. And candidates such as Evans say that raises questions about what the job should be, and what type of person is most suited to it: a politician or a cop.</p><p>&ldquo;We have a colossal mess in our county jail,&rdquo; Evans said. &ldquo;We have understaffing issues, we have, uh, supervision issues...and yet this sheriff wants to take on even more responsibilities that have nothing to do with his office.&rdquo;</p><p>For example, Evans and other candidates have criticized Dart&rsquo;s latest effort to to act as a corruption watchdog for some of Chicago&rsquo;s south suburbs, on top of his other duties.</p><p>And they suggest his much-publicized re-investigation of the John Wayne Gacy murders should have been a low priority for an office with so many responsibilities, even if it was a high-profile case.</p><p>But Dart defends those moves, saying he is tired of public officials who just do the bare minimum.</p><p>&ldquo;I looked as this as a mandate to get very involved with the criminal justice system, not just to sit here and say, &lsquo;Okay, here&rsquo;s your blanket, here&rsquo;s your bologna sandwich, there&rsquo;s your cell,&rsquo;&rdquo; Dart told WBEZ in a recent interview. &ldquo;Instead to look at it and say, &lsquo;Okay, well why are all these people flooding into the jail?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>So Dart says he focuses on treatment, not just lockup.</p><p>For example, he has started to connect prostitutes with social services. And after a federal court order, his office has added <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218">mental health services</a> for the large portion of inmates at the jail who self-identify as mentally ill.</p><p>Dart maintains his different approach to the job has not taken away from his other duties. But since taking office, there has been an uptick in how often sheriff&rsquo;s police lend help to other jurisdictions.</p><p>Between 2007 and 2011, the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office assisted other agencies an average of 8,477 times a year, according to data provided by the sheriff. Between 2012 and 2013, the average jumped to 10,700.</p><p>His approach highlights what challenger Baker says is a problem with Dart: &ldquo;He&rsquo;s never been a law enforcement professional...I say that because...you have a different philosophy when you have never actually been in law enforcement.&rdquo;</p><p>Baker spent more than two decades as a Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s officer, and he wants a tighter focus on a county-wide policing strategy aimed at reducing crime.</p><p>But Dart&rsquo;s background might be good for Cook County, said John Maki, who heads a non-partisan prison watchdog group called The John Howard Association.</p><p>Even though Dart is not a cop, Maki says the sheriff has used his politicians&rsquo; instinct to bring media attention to some of the big problems facing the criminal justice system.</p><p>&ldquo;The thing that I&rsquo;ve been impressed with is how he&rsquo;s used his office to kinda shine light on problems that the jail are simply not equipped to deal with -- poverty, mental illness,&rdquo; Maki said.</p><p>But Maki pointed out that &nbsp;the Cook County Jail is still being watched by a federal monitor,in large part because of longstanding overcrowding. The jail for decades has been under the eyes of the feds, on grounds of violating inmates&rsquo; constitutional rights with unsanitary conditions and overcrowding.</p><p>The monitors say conditions have improved a lot under Dart.</p><p>But they say overcrowding is still a problem because public officials are not working together to solve it.</p><p>&ldquo;In the absence of a collaborative effort, and goodwill among stakeholders to address crowding, and related dysfunction in the courts, probation, and pretrial services, more time has passed, crowding has increased, and there is no solution in sight,&rdquo; wrote federal monitor Susan W. McCampbell in December.</p><p>Experts say this is emblematic of a larger challenge facing the Cook County sheriff. While he may control the workings of the jail, he has little control over how many people are arrested and detained, how much money goes into his budget, or how court records are kept.</p><p>Those fall under the purview of other elected officials, such as County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, with whom Dart has had public clashes.</p><p>He acknowledges he is sometimes impatient with the way his fellow public officers handle their jobs.</p><p>&ldquo;Do I not play well with others at times? That is correct,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;But I usually feel pretty confident that&rsquo;s after I&rsquo;ve exhausted reasonable discussions with people and, when it&rsquo;s become clear to me that [they think] the issue is just &lsquo;too difficult to address, so it&rsquo;s just better if we just forget about it&rsquo; -- and I&rsquo;m not into forgetting about it.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart has not been campaigning much before the March 18 primary.</p><p>He has got way more money than his opponents -- and right now, he has no Republican challenger in the general election, though the GOP has the option to fill that vacant ballot slot after the primary.</p><p>Besides, Dart says, he just has too much stuff to do at the Sheriff&rsquo;s Office.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/views-differ-job-description-cook-sheriffs-race-109781 No more boot camp at Cook County Jail? http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Holding Cell.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Two Illinois state legislators are seeking to eliminate the boot camp at the Cook County Jail, but research has shown it&rsquo;s an effective program.&nbsp; That research, however, is 7 years old.</p><p>The push by Illinois Reps. Dennis Reboletti and Mike Zalewski to eliminate the boot camp comes in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times series showing judges have been improperly sentencing violent offenders to the boot camp.</p><p>Boot camp is a four-month program for offenders, based on military-style exercise and training followed by eight months of supervision with services like job training.</p><p>&ldquo;Having people statutorily ineligible was a problem,&rdquo; said Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, &ldquo;but we&rsquo;ve addressed that.&rdquo;</p><p>Smith said the sheriff asked judges to take another look at people who had been sentenced to the boot camp, and people who should not have been there were weeded out.</p><p>&ldquo;Could any program be improved and modified?&nbsp; Yes,&rdquo; said David Olson, a criminologist at Loyola University Chicago. &ldquo;Are programs like boot camps completely useless?&nbsp; No.&rdquo;</p><p>Olson conducted a study of the boot camp in 2007 that found 28 percent of the boot camp graduates were rearrested within 8 months. That compares to a 49 percent rearrest rate for similar offenders who went to prison. Olson wonders, if you cut the boot camp and send those people to prison, &ldquo;Will the outcomes be better, or will we just have a better feeling in our gut that we&rsquo;re imposing a more punitive sanction?&rdquo;</p><p>The boot camp has also been criticized because one graduate, Bryon Champ, was involved in a shooting in a Chicago park last year in which 13 people were injured.&nbsp; Olson says yes, people have gone through the boot camp and then re-offended, but he says when people come out of prison and re-offend we don&rsquo;t talk about shutting down prisons.</p><p>John Maki with the prison watchdog John Howard Association points out that Olson&rsquo;s study is now 7 years old.&nbsp; Maki says if the boot camp is shown to still be effective it should be saved, but given the recent news stories there are real questions about how it&rsquo;s being run.</p><p>Cara Smith with the jail says they&rsquo;ve done a lot to reform the program.&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rsquo;re certainly not at the point where we think this program has to go,&rdquo; said Smith.</p><p>Rep. Zalewski said &ldquo;the recent anecdotal data is it&rsquo;s (the boot camp) not working.&rdquo;&nbsp; However Zalewski said the proposal to eliminate it will at least force a debate about its effectiveness.</p></p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 Preckwinkle goes after phone company that may have ripped off county http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-goes-after-phone-company-may-have-ripped-county-108826 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/400phone_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Securus Technologies has an exclusive contract to provide the phone service in Cook County Jail. Last year WBEZ reported the company was charging the mostly poor inmates at the jail as much as $15 for 15-minute phone calls.</p><p>Since then the county has renegotiated the contract, cutting the costs to inmates.&nbsp; In the process the county discovered Securus may have been withholding money. The company is supposed to pay 57 and a half percent of the phone revenues to the county. Lydia Murray works for Cook County Board President Preckwinkle and says Securus was levying extra charges on inmates and not giving the county its cut.</p><p>&ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t been getting these fees and we&rsquo;ll say that we&rsquo;re due them and they could be substantial,&rdquo; said Murray.</p><p>The county board is expected to vote on a $290,000 contract today to hire a Louisiana company named Praeses to audit the phone contract and to find places the county is owed money.</p><p>Securus didn&rsquo;t immediately return calls for comment.</p></p> Wed, 02 Oct 2013 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-goes-after-phone-company-may-have-ripped-county-108826 Cook County inmates compete with Russian inmates in online chess match http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cook-county-inmates-compete-russian-inmates-online-chess-match-107191 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chess_130515_sh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Inside the Cook County Jail law library, 10 men were hunched over laptops playing online chess. A live video of their competitors, all Russian inmates, was projected on the wall.</p><p>Correctional Officer Patrice Faulkner roamed the room, encouraging players to take their time. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m nervous, because this is a big deal,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The program is run by Mikhail Korenman, who met chess legend Anatoly Karpov last year. The two chess players, along with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, hatched the idea for this tournament, which, according to Dart, is the first of its kind.</p><p>It was a hard match. The U.S. team was entirely from Cook County, while Russia chose players from across the country&rsquo;s prison system.</p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he had no delusions the match would solve current diplomatic issues between the U.S. and Russia. But he thought chess was a good activity for the men because it encouraged thinking ahead five or six moves, because you must consider the future impact of every action.</p><p>Warren Jackson, one of today&rsquo;s players, said he had seen that change in himself, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m more proactive than reactive now. So I do think chess plays a heavy game when it comes down to you making decisions.&rdquo;</p><p>In the end, Russia won. But Dalvin Brown, Chicago&rsquo;s star player, won both his games. Karpov complimented his skills and the Russians said they will be sending him a chessboard.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cook-county-inmates-compete-russian-inmates-online-chess-match-107191 In Cook County courts: Not guilty? Go to jail anyway http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-courts-not-guilty-go-jail-anyway-107018 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Calvin Marshall.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90653857" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-62666845-6cb2-db21-3c03-c7275a4e565f" style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Cook County has a pretty curious way of dealing with people who are acquitted in court, people who are found not guilty. The county has a practice of violating their constitutional rights, and the practice goes back decades. That&#39;s what happened to a man named Calvin Marshall. &nbsp;You can hear what Marshall went through after he was found not guilty of murder by clicking on the audio above.</span></p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-courts-not-guilty-go-jail-anyway-107018 Preckwinkle, Dart sound alarms on jail overcrowding http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-dart-sound-alarms-jail-overcrowding-106196 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS265_AP03041702306-cook county jail Ted S. Warren-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Wednesday called on judges to release more people on electronic monitoring to help deal with overcrowding at Cook County Jail. According to Preckwinkle, as of Monday there were 10,008 people in the jail, which has a capacity of 10,150.</p><p dir="ltr">The jail population typically grows by a few thousand going into the summer, and Preckwinkle says allowing people accused of crimes to await trial from home could curb the problem.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a waste of public resources to put more money into jail beds,&rdquo; said Preckwinkle, noting that 70 percent of the people awaiting trial in Cook County are charged with nonviolent offenses.</p><p dir="ltr">Speaking on WBEZ&rsquo;s Afternoon Shift Wednesday, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart echoed the sentiment, noting that electronic monitoring costs about a fifth of the $150 a day it costs to house someone at the jail.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They&rsquo;re sitting in their house, they&rsquo;re feeding themselves, they&rsquo;re going back and forth to court dates by themselves, they&rsquo;re going to work, they&rsquo;re taking care of their families, all of the above, as opposed to sitting in jail where we&rsquo;re paying for everything,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;My overtime budget is exploding right now.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Both Preckwinkle and Dart said they&rsquo;re not sure why the number of people on electronic monitoring has recently dropped, and Preckwinkle also called on the Sheriff himself to use his power to release people.</p><p dir="ltr">Dart said he&rsquo;s already doing everything he can, adding that bond hearing judges should be the ones taking action.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The only people I was not putting out [on electronic monitoring] were people that didn&rsquo;t have a house to go to,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no one that has a more vested interest in making sure that the electronic monitoring is a robust system than me.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But a statement by Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans hit the ball straight back into Dart&rsquo;s court, pointing to a federal court order that gives Dart the power to release people.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;According to Illinois law, the purpose of a bail hearing is for a judge to decide how best to ensure the return of the defendant to court and to protect public safety,&rdquo; Evans wrote. &ldquo;The purpose of a bail hearing is not to reduce the jail population.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Neither Dart nor Preckwinkle suggested what measures they will take if the jail population isn&rsquo;t somehow curbed by summer.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Historically the system just wouldn&rsquo;t handle it,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;d just start putting people on the floors, we&rsquo;d have three people in a two-person room, we&rsquo;d have the living units ... literally covered with mattresses all over the place.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Preckwinkle said overcrowding will be number one on the agenda at a meeting of public safety officials Friday.</p><p>Follow Lewis Wallace on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants">@LewisPants</a>.</p></p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 17:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-dart-sound-alarms-jail-overcrowding-106196 Dart: ‘We’re criminalizing mental health’ http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Dart2cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says mentally ill jail inmates are overwhelming his staff. For now, though, he&rsquo;s not backing calls for Chicago to reopen six mental-health clinics it closed this spring.</p><p>At a Logan Square forum about the clinics Wednesday night, Dart said too many people with mental illnesses lacked professional care. &ldquo;When we don&rsquo;t fund services properly, they end up in my jail,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;What we are, in fact, doing is criminalizing mental health,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re doing.&rdquo;</p><p>The audience, packed into a church near one of the shuttered clinics, burst into applause.</p><p>The forum&rsquo;s organizers handed out a press release that said Dart supported their calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration to reopen and fully staff the clinics.</p><p>Later, however, Dart told WBEZ he wasn&rsquo;t making any demands.</p><p>&ldquo;What I want is a thorough plan that we&rsquo;re going to be advocating for,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;Could it involve more clinics? Could be. Could it involve more state money being funded for specific services? Could be. Literally nothing is off the table.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart said his office would come up with that plan by year&rsquo;s end.</p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 23:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 NATO terrorism defendants kept in ‘observation’ cells http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS5837_AP120519150342-scr_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says three anti-NATO protesters accused of planning terrorist actions have been held around-the-clock since Saturday in white-walled &ldquo;observation&rdquo; cells, where they are isolated from each other and the rest of the inmate population and kept from writing materials, books and all other media.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s for their own safety and the safety of the [jail] staff and other inmates,&rdquo; the spokesman, Frank Bilecki, said Tuesday afternoon. &ldquo;Obviously we&rsquo;re concerned about their mental status and well-being.&rdquo;</p><p>A medical staff member checks on the three every 15 minutes, Bilecki said. The cells each have one window through which natural light passes and a larger window for the observation, he added.</p><p>Gary Hickerson, acting executive director of the office&rsquo;s Department of Corrections, ordered the observation because the defendants are young and because their charges are serious, Bilecki said. The decision had nothing to do with defendants&rsquo; behavior since arrest, he added.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s spokesman says the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office had no input into the protesters&rsquo; jail conditions.</p><p>But a lawyer for one of the alleged terrorists says the conditions amount to &ldquo;sensory deprivation&rdquo; intended to hamper their defense. &ldquo;This is a way to break someone&rsquo;s spirit and break their ability to cooperate with their attorneys,&rdquo; said the lawyer, Michael Deutsch, who represents Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.</p><p>Deutsch complained about the conditions in a court hearing about the case Tuesday afternoon. Defense attorneys said they were &ldquo;negotiating&rdquo; with jail staff members to improve the conditions.</p><p>Those talks may be paying off. Bilecki said the jail was planning to move the three protesters Tuesday evening into the general inmate population.</p><p>Church and the other protesters &mdash; Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H; and Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla. &mdash; face charges of terrorism conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and possession of explosives or incendiary devices. Cook County Judge Edward S. Harmening on Saturday set their bonds at $1.5 million each.</p><p>Authorities accused the trio of possessing Molotov cocktails and planning or proposing attacks on targets including President Barack Obama&rsquo;s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s home. The three were among nine people arrested during a police raid last Wednesday at the South Side apartment of some Occupy Chicago leaders who helped organize protests against the NATO summit.</p><p>Church, Chase and Betterly appeared at Tuesday&rsquo;s hearing in tan jail uniforms but did not speak. Judge Adam D. Bourgeois Jr. granted a request by prosecutors to continue the case until June 12.</p><p>At least two other anti-NATO protesters arrested last week face serious felony charges. Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago is charged with falsely making a terrorist threat. Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago is charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge on Sunday set their bonds at $750,000 and $500,000, respectively.</p><p>Senakiewicz and Neiweem are scheduled for a status hearing Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 ICE detainers a public-safety issue? http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Napolitano.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 280px; height: 303px;" title="In April 25 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls a Cook County policy of disregarding the detainers ‘terribly misguided.’ (AP/Susan Walsh)" /></div><p><em>More than eight months since it passed, an ordinance that ended Cook County Jail compliance with immigration detainers keeps causing sparks. The detainers </em>&mdash; <em>requests that the jail hold inmates up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require </em>&mdash; <em>help federal officials put the inmates into deportation proceedings. Sheriff Tom Dart and some county commissioners are pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. So is President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration. They all say their motive is to keep dangerous criminals locked up. Yet officials offer no evidence whether inmates freed by the ordinance endanger the public more than other former inmates do. A WBEZ investigation sheds the first light.</em></p><p>The ordinance cut ties between the jail and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency known as ICE. It passed last September. County Commissioner Tim Schneider offered a prediction.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Under this ordinance, gang bangers, people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities that with these ICE detainers would be held and would be deported. This is clearly our Willie Horton moment here in Cook County.</p><p>Horton was a Massachusetts felon let out of prison on a weekend furlough in 1986. He did not come back and committed violent crimes that haunted Governor Michael Dukakis in his presidential campaign. Cook County may not have anyone like Horton on its hands. But within four months of the ordinance&rsquo;s approval, news outlets had seized on someone else.</p><p>TV REPORTER: . . . when it was revealed that this man, Saúl Chávez, an alleged hit-and-run driver, had bonded out . . .</p><p>Saúl Chávez &mdash; that&rsquo;s the pronunciation &mdash; was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. ICE slapped a detainer on him but the ordinance required the jail to disregard it. When he posted bond, the jail let him out. Then Chávez missed his court dates and disappeared.</p><p>DART: . . . Thank you very much, Commissioner. Thank you for having me here. . . .</p><p>At a February hearing, Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners about other inmates he&rsquo;d freed.</p><p>DART: Since September 7, the jail has released 346 individuals &mdash; who had detainers on them &mdash; that prior to September 7 would have been detained on the hold.</p><p>Dart said 11 of those 346 had committed new offenses. ICE, meanwhile, pointed to the Chávez case and, like Dart, claimed the ordinance undermined public safety in the county. Last month U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified at a Senate hearing.</p><p>NAPOLITANO: Cook County&rsquo;s ordinance is terribly misguided and is a public-safety issue. We&rsquo;re evaluating a lot of options . . .</p><p>All this talk about public safety had me scratching my head. Just how dangerous are these people? Are they more dangerous than former jail inmates that ICE has not named on detainers? I looked for studies comparing the two groups. I checked with policy experts and criminologists . . . the sheriff&rsquo;s office, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, ICE, the U.S. Department of Justice . . .</p><p>BECK: I&rsquo;m not aware that any research has been conducted on this.</p><p>This is Allen Beck. He&rsquo;s a top DOJ statistician. I show him the figures Sheriff Dart brought to that hearing. Some simple math shows that about 3 percent of the inmates the jail freed in disregard of immigration detainers had committed new offenses.<a href="#1"><sup>[1]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s correct.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s office told me it couldn&rsquo;t come up with the rearrest rate for all the other inmates the jail released during those five months.<sup><a href="#2">[2]</a></sup> The office did provide numbers for Cook County defendants on electronic monitoring.<sup><a href="#3">[3]</a></sup> And I checked into a Loyola University study about felons discharged from Illinois probation.<a href="#4"><sup>[4]</sup></a> The rearrest rate for both groups is about the same as for the detainer group.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>Beck tells me about something else.</p><p>BECK: You know, we have tracked felony defendants in large state courts for some time. We have statistics related to Cook County. We certainly have been able to determine a substantial failure rate.</p><p>Beck shows me what he means by failure. In the DOJ&rsquo;s most recent look at Cook County felony defendants, about 25 percent of those who got out of jail with charges pending committed new crimes before their case was over.<sup><a href="#5">[5]</a></sup></p><p>MITCHELL: Mr. Beck, given the evidence available, what can we say about the former inmates wanted by ICE?</p><p>BECK: Well, there clearly isn&rsquo;t any data here to suggest that this group had a higher rate of failure &mdash; that is, of a re-arrest &mdash; than other groups that the Cook County sheriff may be dealing with. In fact, I think the evidence would suggest that these rates are lower.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s another question about Cook County&rsquo;s policy of disregarding immigration detainers: Are the inmates who bond out more likely to skip their court dates and go missing, like Saúl Chávez did? In the county&rsquo;s court records, you can see a defendant has failed to appear when the judge revokes bail and orders arrest. The arrest order&rsquo;s known as a bond-forfeiture warrant.</p><p>MITCHELL: So, Mr. Beck, of the inmates our jail released despite immigration detainers, we pulled court records on all but one of those who were charged with a felony and who got out by posting bond.<a href="#6"><sup>[6]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: . . . couldn&rsquo;t find one.</p><p>MITCHELL: Right.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>MITCHELL: And of those, about 12 percent were named on bond-forfeiture warrants during the five months.</p><p>BECK: About 12 percent.</p><p>For perspective, I rounded up some WBEZ volunteers to help check this figure against other felony defendants freed on bond over the five months. We came up with a representative sample.<a href="#7"><sup>[7]</sup></a> Judges ordered bond-forfeiture warrants for about 14 percent of our sample during the period. Then I got some figures from the sheriff and the court clerk.<a href="#8"><sup>[8]</sup></a> They show roughly how many bond-forfeiture warrants named any felony defendant who got out on bail during those five months.</p><p>BECK: So basically what you&rsquo;re saying is that about 15 percent &mdash; what is that, one in six?</p><p>MITCHELL: Yeah, very close to the rate of the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Mr. Beck, your study &mdash; the one by&nbsp;the U.S. Department of Justice&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;also includes figures for how many Cook County felony defendants failed to appear in court.<a href="#9"><sup>[9]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: We found 21 percent.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now, Mr. Beck, whether we&rsquo;re looking at the rearrests or the bail jumping, all our comparisons include some apples-to-oranges issues.</p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s right but we&rsquo;re looking at numbers that certainly do not lead to a conclusion that this group released in disregard to the ICE detainers would pose a greater risk upon their release than others.</p><p>If that&rsquo;s the case, I wondered what all those officials meant when they said the Cook County ordinance undermines public safety. Sheriff Dart&rsquo;s office and the Department of Homeland Security haven&rsquo;t granted my requests to speak with them about this. An ICE spokeswoman says her agency won&rsquo;t talk about this on tape and says ICE never claimed that the former jail inmates it named on detainers were committing more crimes or jumping bail more than other former jail inmates. The lack of evidence did not stop the officials from pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. Tim Schneider &mdash; he&rsquo;s the County Board commissioner who invoked Willie Horton &mdash; he proposed an amendment that would require compliance with the ICE detainers for inmates who appear on a federal terrorist list or face a serious felony charge. I ask Schneider whether his push has anything to do with age-old fears about immigrants threatening public safety.</p><p>MITCHELL: When you talk about Willie Horton in the context of the September ordinance and when you talk about Saúl Chávez &mdash; our research suggested he&rsquo;s not typical &mdash; are you stoking those fears?</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Absolutely not.</p><p>He goes on.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: If these people could be held pursuant to ICE detainers, then that&rsquo;s one less person that would flee justice. In the case of Saúl Chávez, he is out loose because we&rsquo;re not complying with ICE detainers.</p><p>YOUNG: No one wants to be seen as endangering public safety.</p><p>Attorney Malcolm Young directs an inmate-reentry program at Northwestern University.</p><p>YOUNG: The claim of public safety is a good one to make any time you want to advance one or another criminal-justice policy. Here I think it&rsquo;s incumbent on someone who&rsquo;s making that argument to show why it is that the release of someone who is the subject of an ICE detainer puts the community at risk or creates a risk that that person is not going to show up in court.</p><p>Otherwise, Young says, the Cook County Jail may as well keep all inmates beyond what their criminal cases require &mdash; not just those wanted by immigration authorities.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><a name="1">1. </a>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners at a February 9 hearing that his office had freed 346 inmates in disregard of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers since September 7, when the County Board enacted &ldquo;Policy for responding to ICE detainers&rdquo; (Ordinance 11-O-73). Of the 346, according to Dart, 11 committed new offenses during the five months. That means 3.2 percent had reoffended. The flow of the releases over the five months was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been arrested on new charges. That makes the per-day rearrest rate roughly 0.04 percent.</p><p><a name="2">2. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says the jail released 30,549 inmates between September 7 and February 6. But the office says it could not quickly find out how many had committed new offenses during that period because that tally would require investigating the cases one-by-one.</p><p><a name="3">3. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says Cook County Circuit Court judges ordered 2,700 individuals into the sheriff&rsquo;s electronic-monitoring program between September 7 and February 6. Of those, according to the sheriff&rsquo;s office, 53 were arrested for a new crime while in the program during that period. That means about 2.0 percent had committed a new crime &mdash; close to the 3.2 percent for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Among shortcomings with this comparison is that the electronic-monitoring group did not include individuals released from jail after a not-guilty ruling, individuals who had served their sentences, individuals for whom all charges were dismissed and so on.</p><p><a name="4">4. </a>Loyola University Chicago <a href="http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=248832">researchers studied 1,578 felons</a> discharged in November 2000 from Illinois probation. Within two months of their discharge, 3 percent had been rearrested for a new crime, according David Olson, an author of the study. That&rsquo;s about 0.05 percent per day &mdash; close to the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Shortcomings with this comparison include penal and policing changes since the probation discharges, the presence of 740 non-Cook County individuals in the probation group, and that group&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants, pretrial defendants, individuals whose charges were dropped, individuals found not guilty, individuals who completed sentences other than probation and so on.</p><p><a name="5">5. </a>The most recent U.S. Department of Justice <a href="http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc06.pdf">study that covers rearrests</a> of former Cook County Jail inmates looks at 716 defendants who were charged in May 2006 with a felony and freed from the jail before trial. About 25 percent were rearrested again in Illinois on a new charge before their case&rsquo;s disposition. Assuming the median time between their first arrest and their adjudication was 92 days, the per-day rearrest rate was roughly 0.27 percent &mdash; much higher than the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is the DOJ study&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants and of individuals released because their sentence was served or their charges were dropped. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><a name="6">6. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office provided a listing of individuals the jail released between September 7 and February 6 in disregard of ICE detainers. WBEZ focused on flight risk by examining a subset &mdash; the 133 felony defendants who got out of jail by posting bond. Court records on one of those defendants could not be found, reducing the number to 132. Judges named 16 of the 132, or 12.1 percent, on bond-forfeiture warrants (BFWs) during that five-month period, according to a WBEZ review of the records. The flow of the releases over the period was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been named on a BFW. That makes the per-day rate roughly 0.16 percent. But there&rsquo;s a caveat: It&rsquo;s possible that some of the 16 defendants who failed to appear in court were missing because ICE had detained or deported them. A January 4 letter from ICE Director John Morton says his agency had arrested 15 individuals that the jail had released since September 7 in disregard of ICE detainers. We asked ICE to identify the 15 but the agency pointed to a privacy policy and declined. We also asked ICE whether it notifies the Cook County Circuit Court after taking into custody someone with a pending criminal case in that court, whose judges order the BFWs. ICE didn&rsquo;t answer that question but said it informs local law-enforcement agencies and the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office.</p><p><a name="7">7. </a>WBEZ generated a 133-member sample of felony defendants freed on bond between September 7 and February 6. Of those, 18, or 13.5 percent, were named on a BFW during that period, according to a WBEZ review of their court records. That rate is close to the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming of this comparison concerns the degree to which the sample is representative. Randomness was impossible due to limits on public access to records kept by the sheriff and the Clerk of the Circuit Court and due to a lack of data integration between the two offices. An example of the shortcoming is that WBEZ had to identify the felony cases by finding clerk-assigned case numbers with digits showing the case&rsquo;s transfer to the court system&rsquo;s criminal division, which handles felonies only. But some felony cases never reach that division and, thus, are never assigned a case number with those digits.</p><p><a name="8">8. </a>Figures from the sheriff&rsquo;s office suggest that roughly 8,000 felony defendants got out of jail between September 7 and February 6 by posting bond. Figures from the clerk&rsquo;s office suggest that judges ordered 1,247 BFWs in felony cases during that period. The BFWs cover roughly 15.6 percent of the defendants, assuming just one BFW per defendant. The rate is higher than the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the &ldquo;roughly 8,000&rdquo; figure refers to a 7,785-9,089 range provided by the sheriff&rsquo;s office, which says it can&rsquo;t quickly determine the felony/misdemeanor status of 1,304 cases. Another shortcoming is that the clerk&rsquo;s office does not track when defendants were released from jail. The 1,247 figure, therefore, pertains to the five-month period but not the 8,000 defendants per se.</p><p><a name="9">9. </a>In the DOJ study, judges named 21 percent of the defendants on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Given the median 92 days from arrest to adjudication, 0.23 percent per day got such a warrant. That rate is higher than the 0.16 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the detainer group includes just those who posted bond. The DOJ group includes additional pretrial-defendant types, such as those released on personal recognizance. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><em>Research assistance from Brian Mitchell, Christopher Newman, Joan Rothenberg and Sauming Seto. Editing by Shawn Allee.</em></p></p> Wed, 16 May 2012 11:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190