Friday, August 22, 2008

Drastic Decrease in Electronic Releases at Cook County Jail

Today, the Chicago Tribune reports that Cook County Sheriff, Thomas Dart, has drastically decreased the number of inmates released on electronic monitoring from the Cook County Jail. Sheriff Dart is keeping 1,000 extra inmates in jail every day because he believes that the decision to let inmates go home should be left to Judges and not to his employees.  The average daily number of criminal defendants on electronic monitors traditionally topped 1,500 per day. During the first six months of this year, that number has dropped to 406.  In recent weeks, that number has dropped to less than 300.  Sheriff Dart is being critized for drastically increasing the financial cost to Cook County.  The cost of incarcerating someone in jail for one day is over $100, whereas the cost of placing someone on electronic monitoring for one day is $35.24.  If 1000 inmates a day were placed on electronic monitoring, the savings to Cook County for a year would be over $23 million.

Electronic monitoring began in Cook County in 1998 to control overcrowding and to comply with a consent decree in a federal class action lawsuit known as Duran. Chief Circuit Court Judge Timothy Evans believes that Sheriff Dart is required to decide who can be released on electronic monitoring, whereas Sheriff Dart believes that this decision should be made by judges.  Sheriff Dart is trying to get Judge Evans to place more of the responsibility to decide who should be released on electronic monitoring on Judges.  If this effort fails, Sheriff Dart will attempt to have the Illinois State Legislature pass legislation that places this responsibility on the judiciary.

We will keep you informed of any developments in this dispute.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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