Go to ABC7Chicago.com


abc7chicago.com blogs
Read more ABC7 blogs

Advertisement

- Chicago news

« Broadway's Burning! | Main | Just Askin'... »

03/08/2010

Cook County Good Government?

  A local government development of historic proportions happened last week and it deserves another mention in this space.  Sheriff Tom Dart announced that with the Cook County Jail's annual intake having fallen by 18.6% since 2004, he will close two of the sprawling correctional facility's buildings.  

  At its overcrowded worst, the jail had become the nation's largest, single site correctional facility with an average daily population of over 11000 inmates.  Today, with Chicago Police making dramatically fewer felony arrests, the average count is about 8600.  Shuttering two "divisions" initially will save about $15 million dollars a year and ease the pressure applied by the Federal Courts to hire more correctional officers.

  The downsizing is historic because the Cook County Jail had grown steadily for the previous half century costing taxpayers untold billions.   In fact, the jail and courts are second only to the county's Health and Hospital System in terms of expense.  Rarely will you hear of a public safety official, let alone an elected one like Dart, who will admit that his or her fiefdom is on the shrink.  

  But with his announcement last week, the sheriff and his staff have challenged themselves to manage the lower headcount to create some savings for Cook County taxpayers.  And credit Dart for putting good government over politics inasmuch as he for waited until a month after the primary election to deliver the good news. 

  Now...

  How can the fact that there are fewer people being arrested for felonies and being held in the Cook County Jail  translate into improved management and efficiencies elsewhere in the criminal justice system?

  Will the Courts, State's Attorney's and Public Defender's Offices downsize and produce some more taxpayer savings?

  So far, we haven't heard a peep. 

  But rest assured that when budget hearings begin later this year, County Commissioners will remember Sheriff Dart's news conference and those two empty buildings at the jail.

Comments

I would like to know if the people of Illinois remember the ads that were being displayed when this Governor stated that "he would not raise any taxes" I cannot wait untill novemember when I can vote again to get this person out of office increasing the taxes is not going to solve the mishandling of funds within the government and Pat Quinn is a prime example of mishandling of funds Harold Washington warned against this and yet these people don't seem to get it. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM PEOPLE OUR CHILDREN NEED TO STAY IN SCHOOL NOT OUT OF SCHOOL.If pat quinn was a bit concern he would know this, once again the children and the young adults are forced to the streets because of the Greed of the Politicians and who suffers the AMERICANS

The comments to this entry are closed.