Category Archives: Cook County News

Cook County Receives MacArthur Grant to Reduce Jail Population

by Mary C. Piemonte

Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle with Judge George Leighton in June 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans (right) and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle with Judge George Leighton in June 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Although there is growing attention to the large number of Americans confined in state and federal prisons nationally, much  less attention has been paid to local jails.

A large percentage of the inmate population of both sentenced offenders and pretrial detainees are in jail for nonviolent offenses such as traffic, property, drug or public order violations.

And low-income individuals and communities of color across the nation disproportionately experience the negative consequences of incarceration, according to Cook County public officials in the criminal justice system.

However, Cook County was one of 20 jurisdictions from 45 states selected on May 27, 2015, to receive a $150,000 planning grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “to reduce the number of low level nonviolent offenders incarcerated in the Cook County Jail.”

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Release of Chicago Police Officers’ Misconduct Reports

by Mary C. Piemonte

Poster during a Chicago police protest in

Poster held during a protest outside Chicago Police headquarters in September 2010. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte


After seven years of litigation, on July 29, 2014, the City of Chicago provided Jamie Kalven, founder and principal staff member of the Invisible Institute, with a batch of documents on police misconduct that took place between 2001 and 2008.

According to Kalven, the list of misconduct reports involved police officers assigned to “public housing south” and those who participated in any of the Chicago Police Department’s “early intervention” programs. The documents were produced by the city as a result of “Bond v. Utreras” and other lawsuits.

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Cook County Board of Commissioners Approves Two Referenda on the November Ballot

by Mary C. Piemonte

ballot-box

Courtesy of bloggers.or.ke

On the November ballot, voters in the 2014 general election in Cook County will be asked “whether they support banning the sale of assault weapons and requiring universal background checks for firearm transfers; and whether they believe the State should provide more funding for mental health treatment,” according to Cook County Board of Commissioners.

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Officials Launch Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

by Mary C. Piemonte

Pictured from Left to Right: State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, DCFS HT Program Manager Stacy Sloan, DCFS Acting Director Bobbie Gregg, FBI Special Agent Ricardo Pagan, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Pictured from left to right: Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, DCFS HT Program Manager Stacy Sloan, DCFS Acting Director Bobbie Gregg, FBI Special Agent Ricardo Pagan and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office recently launched an “Our Children Are Not for Sale” awareness campaign asking the public to alert law enforcement and DCFS when they believe a child is a victim of human trafficking.

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