The Cook County Sheriff has agreed to hire an additional 600 jail guards as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the federal government. In 2007 and 2008, the federal government conducted a thorough investigation of the jail which concluded that inmates' constitutional rights were violated because excessive force was used against them, jail security failed to take adequate measures to prevent inmates from being harmed by fellow inmates, and by providing inadequate physical and mental health treatment to inmates. The investigation identified three inmates who had committed suicides in the first 4 months of 2008 and identified inmates who died as a result of inadequate medical care. Under the settlement with the federal government, the Cook County Department of Corrections must hire and train 448 corrections officers by December 31, 2010 and an additional 174 by March 31, 2011. Video surveillance must be increased throughout the jail and there must be an increase in the number of inspections conducted. All injuries to inmates must be photographed and proper disciplinary punishments must be handed out to officers who use excessive force. In addition, Cermak Hospital must develop policies and procedures which will insure that constitutionally adequate medical and mental health treatment will be provided to the inmates.
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