Saturday, August 23, 2008

Federal Judge Fines Cook County Jail

In an interesting follow up to yesterday's blog posting regarding the Cook County Jail's electronic monitoring program, a Federal Judge in Chicago fined the Cook County Jail $1,000 a day for violating the federal class action lawsuit dealing with overcrowding and jail conditions. In June of this year, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall ordered Cook County jail officials working in the division of the jail housing inmates that have psychological and medical issues to receive special training, install special computers and to better track the medications given to those inmates. This order had not been complied with as of Friday and was more than 40 days after Judge Kendall had ordered these conditions be met.

In the same opinion issued yesterday, Judge Kendall made it clear that the responsibility for complying with the requirements of the federal class action lawsuit rests with county officials and with the Sheriff, but strongly urged that Chief Judge Timothy Evans come up with a plan to place greater control over electronic monitoring on judges rather than county jail officials.

A final report regarding compliance with Judge Kendall's June court order is due in 2 weeks and there is a possibility that Judge Kendall will not levy the fines if the court order has been complied with by then.

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