Judge to visit jail to assess overcrowding

February 1, 2008 4:07:11 PM PST
A federal judge will visit the Cook County Jail to get a firsthand look at the overcrowding problem. It's been a long-standing issue. Some inmates say it's gotten worse over the last year. They say that some inmates have to sleep on the floor.

But an attorney for Sheriff Tom Dart says that's not the case right now.

Lawyers for the inmates say overcrowding could be reduced if Dart released non-violent inmates through the electronic monitoring program.

"We wouldn't have anybody sleeping on the floor of the jail, and we wouldn't have a constitutional violation," said Locke Bowman, attorney for plaintiffs.

"The sheriff of Cook County does not believe that he has sufficient information to place 1,500 or more people on electronic monitoring without input from the courts," said Daniel Gallagher, attorney for Sheriff Dart.

Judge Virginia Kendall plans to visit the jail next Friday.