Cook County is crying out for criminal justice reform.
The time has long since passed for County leaders to examine our criminal justice system in Cook County from top to bottom- and then we must act decisively to make that system more transparent, more efficient and more equitable.
In Cook County, 86 percent of our jail inmates are people of color. At the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center 80 percent of the children are either black or brown. These staggering statistics should shock all of our consciences.
If your conscience is not shocked, then the price tag of such high incarceration rates should at least cause you great discomfort. For every child currently in the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Cook County spends $600 of your tax dollars per day. For every inmate in Cook County jail, it costs the county $143 dollars per day.
A focus on pre-detention alternatives coupled with an emphasis on supportive services to be provided in the community is essential to achieve the important goal of reducing our jail population in Cook County. Electronic monitoring and effective court supervision can also be a critical part of the solution.
Anything less than comprehensive criminal justice reform would be a disservice to county taxpayers and the most vulnerable among us.