As the number of COVID-19 cases decline at the Cook County Jail, Sheriff Tom Dart announced Monday he would resume allowing in-person family visits for detainees for the first time in months.
The Cook County sheriff is challenging a federal court order that outlines how his office must combat COVID-19 at the Cook County Jail, and called ongoing efforts by activists to get more detainees out of the jail a “waste of resources.”
Sheriff Tom Dart informed Cook County court and elected officials in a letter Thursday that his office has “no additional equipment to assign” after the electronic monitoring program saw a 30% surge in recent months.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says an expected summer spike in the jail’s detainee population could “upend the delicately balanced housing arrangements currently in place.”
The number of detainees within the Cook County Jail is reaching historic lows during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as that number drops, the number of those being held on electronic monitoring devices has steadily risen.
A federal judge will decide whether social distancing and other preventive measures ordered at the Cook County Jail are being properly instituted following calls from criminal justice advocates for additional precautions.
Sheriff's Office also awaiting autopsy results of second officer who died Sunday
Sheila Rivera, 47, had worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office since 2012. Rivera and another corrections officer died Sunday. Officials are awaiting autopsy results to see if his death was related to COVID-19.
Defending his office’s COVID-19 testing and isolation procedures, the Cook County sheriff said Wednesday he took action to prevent the spread of the virus earlier than any other sheriff in the country.
Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said it has begun complying with a court order mandating additional protective measures inside the Cook County Jail, but it estimates its supply of surgical masks for detainees and employees will run out in “six to seven more days.”
The Cook County sheriff must begin implementing additional sanitation and precaution measures at the jail, but a federal judge rejected calls for the release of large numbers of detainees.
Leticia Ruiz says the Cook County sheriff failed to protect her son from a reputed gang member who allegedly beat him to death inside the jail earlier this month, and that the “vicious and violent” beating was avoidable.
“The Sheriff’s Office has won praise for progressive reforms to improve and maintain the safety and security of all those housed and employed at the Cook County Jail,” says Tom Dart. Learn more about this candidate.
“This crisis touches the lives of so many – almost everyone knows someone struggling with an opioid addiction,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “I hope this podcast opens eyes and minds to how easily an opioid addiction can happen and how hard it can be to stop.”
“The Sheriff’s Office has won praise for progressive reforms to improve and maintain the safety and security of all those housed and employed at the Cook County Jail,” Thomas Dart writes. Learn more about this candidate.
Cook County Jail wasn’t designed to be a psychiatric facility, but it’s turned into one of the largest mental health institutions in the country, says Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.