Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Cook County Jail Agrees to Improvements

It took a federal lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice to get Cook County to finally agree to remedy decades of inadequate conditions at its infamous Cook County Jail (CCJ).

The sweeping deal between Cook County and the Justice Department, announced in May 2010, requires CCJ to hire 600 more guards, revamp medical and mental health care, and pay for court monitors who will report to U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall regarding the settlement's implementation.

The Justice Department filed suit after a federal inquiry revealed widespread problems at CCJ including, but not limited to, prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, unnecessary prisoner deaths, unnecessary amputations, horrible medical, dental, and mental health care, and beating by guards. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed the lawsuit.

"We have achieved a rigorous, comprehensive agreement that will remedy the unconstitutional conditions that were found at the Cook County Jail," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. "Inmates are entitled to conditions of confinement that pass constitutional muster."

CCJ is the largest single building county jail in the country, frequently housing in excess of 8,500 prisoners a day.

Under the terms of the settlement, CCJ must install more cameras, investigate unusual prisoner injuries in order to detect staff abuse, photograph all prisoner and staff injuries, and increase staff supervision of all prisoner living areas. These reforms come on top of significant, mandated improvements in medical and mental health care. See: United States v. Cook County, Illinois, U.S.D.C. (D. Il.), Case No. 1:10-cv-02946.

Source: The Chicago Sun Times

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

United States v. Cook County, Illinois