Judge investigates jail overcrowding

February 2, 2008 6:06:56 AM PST
A federal judge will visit the Cook County Jail to get a first hand look at the overcrowding problem. It's been a long-standing issue. Some inmates say it's gotten worse over the last year -- that some have to sleep on the floor. However, an attorney for Sheriff Tom Dart said 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 15-hundred or more people on electronic monitoring without input from the courts," said Attorney for Sheriff Dart Daniel Gallagher.

Judge Virginia Kendall plans to visit the jail next Friday.