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Cook County Jail Faces Another Lawsuit

An inmate booked into the Cook County Jail in May says he and about 50 other inmates were shuttled from cell block to cell block, and never given individual cells during a four-day period in mid-May. The complaint, filed in US District Court, is a class action suit that claims jail guards created "ghost cells" within the records to make it look like they were in real cells. They say chronic overcrowding at the jail is the cause of all of this. Brandis Friedman has more on that complaint and Sheriff Tom Dart's reaction to it.

In addition to these recent complaints, Cook County Jail has made changes to their boot camp program. Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart held a news conference Thursday, June 12 on the improvements to the Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center (VRIC). Detainees sentenced to VRIC work on manual labor projects as an alternative to prison. The program is broken down into two phases. 

Phase one is a four-month residency program where detainees not only work and live at the camp but also take classes. The second phase is an eight-month post-release which serves as a probation period where participants who do not have verified employment or schooling outside of VRIC must report to the facility to work various supervised duties three days a week.

Some of the manual projects include landscaping the exterior of Cook County Jail, maintenance work, cleaning jail transportation vehicles, and working with Chicago Animal Care and Control. The progam oversees more than 100 detainees.

  • Web Extra: Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart speak about changes to the jail's Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center in this video.


 View a slideshow of the event.