Tom Dart – Compassion or Deflection?

Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart made national news yesterday by declaring he would not do the part of his job that involves evicting people from their homes.

I saw the story below the Bill O’Reilly Show on Fox News.

The day of his announcement, however, there was another story of significance about the Cook County Jail that Dart runs.

His office was sued for allowing an inmate to commit suicide.

When word was broadcast of WBBM Radio that George Ryan was expected to be indicted the next day, Ryan came up with his capital punishment announcement. (I admit to not being able to find links to verify this, but that’s the sequence I remember.)

Could Dart’s announcement be to deflect attention to the suit regarding the Cook County inmate suicide?

As the Tribune story by Stacy St. Clair pointed out,

“The family of an inmate highlighted in a scathing critique of the Cook County Jail has filed a lawsuit alleging the man’s suicide could have been prevented with proper medical care and cell supervision.”

With less than a week left to serve, 25-year old Nicholas Grossi choked himself with a sheet.

After reading the report, I urged Sheriff Dart to just throw up his hands, admit that to cure the jail’s problems required more money that he could pry out of the Cook County Board and ask the Federal judge to take control of making the jail safe and sanitary.

Here is the comprehensive series on what the Federal monitor found wrong with the Cook County Jail:

Part 1 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Sheriff Tom Dart’s Goals

Part 2 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – 2007 Complaints of Physical Abuse to Inmates

Part 3 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Causes of and Cures for Physical Abuse

Part 4 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Medical Care

Part 5 – Pervasive Problems at Cook County Jail – Access to Medical and Dental Care

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