The lower crimes rates that we have been reporting have had a surprising effect. The population at the notoriously overcrowded Cook County Jail is down. As a result, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that portions of the jail are being closed down at a savings to taxpayers. A 600 bed dormitory that housed medium and maximum security inmates was closed down last month. Division III will also be closed down. It houses medium and maximum security female inmates. The number of inmates coming into the jail are down almost 19 percent since 2004. As a result the population in the jail is dropping. In 2004, about 106,000 people were processed into the jail. In 2009, 86,000 people were processed. The entire jail complex encompasses 96 acres of land. It can handle up to 10,000 imates at one time. In 2002, about 11,000 inmates were housed in the jail. This led to inmates being forced to sleep on the floor. Today, the prison population is about 8,600. Sheriff Dart has made plans to be able to quickly reopen the closed facilities if needed. In addition, about 60 Cook County inmates are being housed in neighboring counties. Sheriff Dart says that in some cases it is cheaper to house the inmates outside of Cook County. The closings are expected to bring about $15 million in savings to the County.
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