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Beatings at Cook County Jail

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A federal investigation has found that conditions at Cook County Jail violate the civil rights of inmates there. Chicago Public Radio’s Robert Wildeboer reports.

A lot of the problems raised by the investigation could be solved, but it would take a a whole lot of money. The U.S. department of justice civil rights division found there’s inadequate healthcare and staffing, and the facilities are falling apart. But U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who announced the findings, says some of the problems could be solved for free, for example cultural changes.

FITZGERALD: There’s clearly examples of corrections officers in organized groups beating inmates to retaliate for verbal abuse and people going to the hospital for it and that’s got to stop.

Fitzgerald says the jail needs updated policies on when physical force can and cannot be used. In a statement, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he wants to work with federal authorities to solve the problems they point out, but he also says the report doesn’t recognize all the improvements the county has made at the jail in the last year.

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