Cook County Juvenile Detention Center problemsWith problems such as filthy rooms, dirty laundry and abusive staff at Cook County's juvenile detention center continuing to mount, youth advocates are tired of waiting for county leaders to fix the problems.
The ACLU of Illinois asked U.S. Judge John A. Nordberg on Wednesday to put the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in receivership. The move would give a court-appointed receiver -- a person or an organization -- independent authority to oversee reform.
The ACLU's push to take the center out of the county's hands came after an advocate learned in May that no apparent follow-up care was given to a child who had urinated in his cell and was found with a noose around his neck.
"That is a complete absence of leadership,'' attorney Thomas F. Geraghty said. "Some child is going to get hurt out there."
"That facility has continued to deteriorate into chaos,'' said Cook County Commissioner Forest Claypool. "Yet there has been absolutely no leadership from [County Board President] Todd Stroger or anyone else in this county. The only people who ever had any reform credentials were ushered out the door.''
In a statement, Stroger called the allegations "historical in nature" and not a reflection of the "current state of affairs."
"In fact, in the last five months, the administration has worked to foster a renewed commitment to providing appropriate care and oversight,'' Stroger said.
At the last Cook County Board meeting, Commissioners, Collins and Peraica wanted to know more information on what, why, and how much outside lawyers are getting paid to represent juveniles, some for 11 years. Commissioner John Daley, Finance Chair said there is no way to find this information out, he claims it will take a lot of computer programming. Daley also said that you could not find out by how much you paid each lawyer, or even by which juvenile is represented. Now I wonder why can't they go through accounts payable and see which outside lawyers have been paid? Surely each lawyer or law firm was issued an individual check? Also brought up was were the same lawyers being used? No good answers either. Why doesn't the County know all these answers? Shouldn't they?
Ex-Governor Ryan out on appeal and looses pension
Ryan filed a lawsuit in December in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to keep the portion of his state pension earned before the scandals that led to his federal racketeering conviction.
But Judge Martin Agran upheld the General Assembly Retirement System board's unanimous vote to strip Ryan of his $197,000 annual pension.
Ryan's attorneys had maintained he should get the pension he earned during 24 years as a county board member, state representative and lieutenant governor because he was not accused of crimes during those years. That totaled about $65,000.
Ryan was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery during his time as secretary of state and governor, from 1991 to 2003. Ryan is appealing his conviction, and a federal appeals court ruled he may remain free while the court reviews the case.