Children staying at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center have been washing their underwear in toilets and sleeping without pillows on ripped mattresses.Well changes are being made, thank goodness. There are parental visits up to once a week and now they get five visits a week. There are even going to be mentoring opportunites as well.
These were among revelations from Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele and J.W. Fairman, new director of the center, which languished with inexperienced leadership for years. This year, however, outside administrators have taken over some operations.
New operators have found that hundreds of unpaid bills -- some almost three years old -- were stashed away.
They included bills for mattresses -- preventing new ones from being delivered.
"Clean towels, after-school snacks, enough underwear, a pillow, an extra blanket -- very basic things" were not being addressed, said one of those new administrators, Carl Sanniti.
This is going to be a far cry from the story I heard last year that juveniles in custody were made to settle their disputes like men. If you know what I mean.
Oh yeah this story was also in time for the election next week. One last quote for you...
Even Commissioner Forrest Claypool, the loudest critic of center operations, said he was surprised by "one more in a laundry list of abuses there."
"It's just remarkable to me that we can have this sort of abuse of children and absolute chaos for so long, yet no one in authority would step in and deal with it," he said.
The revelations come after months of claims that staff members have abused children and that unqualified patronage workers dot the staff.
Outside observers have confirmed some of those claims, while federal investigators are digging deep into records.