CHICAGO (AP) - All is not well at the nation's largest county
jail, a sprawling complex on Chicago's west side.
A federal investigation has uncovered serious sanitation and
medical care problems at the Cook County Jail.
Officials also documented violence against prisoners who clashed
with guards or failed to follow commands.
Some of the bigger problems uncovered include old or mentally
ill inmates struck by guards for dressing too slowly -- and inmates
burning milk cartons to heat food in their cells. Overcrowding has
resulted in "hot bunking," in which prisoners use beds in
eight-hour shifts. The jail has only one dentist for 9,800
The report by the civil rights division of the Justice
Department and U.S. attorney's office says three jail inmates
committed suicide in the first four months of this year, and others
have died because of inadequate medical care.
Sheriff Thomas Dart is criticizing the report, saying it relies
on inflammatory language and draws conclusions based on hearsay