Instead of owning up to the reported facts, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart went into full denial mode about the immoral conditions at Cook County Jail. From the Tribune:
"For them to come out with criticism and then flavor it
with some horribly incendiary ...
"For them to come out with criticism and then flavor it with some horribly incendiary language and try to paint this picture that we don't care or we don't know is completely inaccurate and horribly unprofessional."
As Steve Rhodes remarks, "horribly unprofessional" is not a very good description of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, whose investigation should be taken extremely seriously.
And what did that 98-page report reveal about an institution that houses men and women waiting for trial (which means many haven't yet been convicted of a crime)? The Sun-Times editorial board runs through a few of the more disturbing incidents:
One man, arrested for driving on a suspended driver's license, got into an argument with an officer at the jail and found his head being used as a "bongo drum."
Another prisoner's jaw was broken after he was accused of planting contraband, according to the report.
Worse still, prisoners reported that guards threatened them with worse treatment if they reported the violence.
Health care at the jail hospital, run by the Cook County Health Bureau, also leaves much to be desired.
One prisoner's leg had to be amputated after staffers took too long to treat an infection.
Another inmate died from sepsis because a gunshot wound became infected after he came into the jail.
A female prisoner with HIV died from a preventable infection.
It will be interesting to see the reaction from Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who will need to spend the money to make the necessary changes. If he has a sensible bone in his body, he'll make it a priority to clean up these egregious abuses.