REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The Board of Commissioners of
Chairman Collins, Vice Chairman Beavers, Commissioners
Commissioners Gorman, Goslin, Maldonado, Murphy, Peraica, Schneider, Silvestri and Steele (8)
Mr. Earl Dunlap Transitional Administrator for the JTDC, Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge, Jonathan A. Rothstein, Acting Chief of the Bureau of Human Resources
Court Reporter: Anthony Lisanti, C.P.R.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
on Criminal Justice of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County met pursuant
to notice for a public hearing on
Your Committee has considered the following item and upon adoption of this report, the recommendation is as follows:
REQUESTING A MEETING OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE TO
ADDRESS THE ISSUES AT THE
WHEREAS, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) has been under duress going back several years; and
WHEREAS, on August 14, 2007, the court appointed Mr. Earl Dunlap as Transitional Administrator for the JTDC in preparation for the transfer of the facility to the Office of the Chief Judge; and
WHEREAS, in light of recent media reports and issues outlined in Mr. Dunlap’s most recent update to the Board and that appear to hinder progress towards compliance with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cook County Board of Commissioners does hereby request that a meeting of the Criminal Justice Committee be scheduled as soon as possible to address the issues at the JTDC mentioned in the report and in the interest of protecting the well-being of both the residents and the employees at the center; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Mr. Earl L. Dunlap, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and Jonathan A. Rothstein appear before the Committee to address these concerns and to collectively find ways to resolve them.
*Referred to the committee on Criminal Justice on
Mr. Earl Dunlap, Transitional Administrator of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) thanked Chairman Collins and the Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge for appearing at the federal court hearings in August. Chairman Collins and the Chief Judge Evans have been aggressive in stepping up at the JTDC.
Mr. Dunlap stated he is committed to transparency which means there is nothing to hide at the
JTDC. The first report he submitted to the federal court dealt with the dysfunction at the JTDC. The first couple of months focused on developing a table of organization and the 2008 budget submission.
Mr. Dunlap stated new procedures have been implemented which are important to the children. One is the due process hearings for violating the rules. The JTDC established four staff positions to conduct due process hearings and to investigate any wrong doings going on at the JTDC including physical and sexual abuse of children. The due process hearing procedures were explained to the staff; although some staff members were on the defensive. Many staff members responded in a positive way.
In the year of 2008 there have been 50 internal
investigations. A staff person was
alleged to have physically abused a resident at the JTDC was placed in a non-contact
situation. This staff member is removed
from any kind of direct and continuant supervision of children until the
investigation is completed. The vast
majority of the investigations have come back as unsubstantiated, and no staff
was immediately put back to work. In
those instances where they were substantiated, the appropriate disciplinary
action was taken. The JTDC had an
enormous number of staff members placed on “non-contact,” “stop orders” and
remove from the building” until the situations were resolved. This process has worked effectively. The staff has come to understand throughout the JTDC that abusing the children will not be tolerated.
In the year of 2007 the budget had four 462 staff members and in 2008 the Cook County Board approved an increase to 567.
The JTDC has developed a 160 hour curriculum for all staff members, including new employees. The JTDC has developed an eighty hour leadership training curriculum for middle managers and managers.
In January the JTDC will transfer intake screening, business and payroll functions over to the Chief Judge’s Office to maximize resources and minimize unnecessary duplication.
Commissioner Moreno asked about the security firm Wackenhut. He inquired whether the firm has ever been involved with juvenile detention facilities.
Mr. Dunlap responded that Wackenhut’s
reputation is not the greatest in the world.
He stated that problems have occurred in
Commissioner Beavers inquired regarding the hiring practices
Mr. Dunlap responded that he has hired no one.
Commissioner Beavers inquired if any interviews were conducted for any open positions at the JTDC.
Mr. Dunlap responded over a hundred interviews have been conducted but that hiring is a very complex process.
Beavers requested that Mr. Dunlap refrain from blaming
Mr. Dunlap agreed to quit engaging in such conversation.
Quigley inquired on the overcrowding and reduction of population at the
Judge Evans responded that the State Legislature and the
Governor Blagojevich placed the
The Chief Judge’s Office has regular meetings with the
Transitional Administrator so that change occurs even before that time elapse;
the Transitional Administrator has turned over certain ancillary functions to
the Chief Judge’s Office in anticipation that the Chief Judge’s Office may carry
out those functions better. These include
certain contractual functions providing food, procurement and MIS systems. In addition, the Transitional Administrator
is asking the Chief Judges’ Office to assist his office with training and other
aspects of testing. The Chief Judge’s
Office should provide alternatives to detention for many of the children who
are housed in the detention center. The
Chief Judge’s Office provides an evening reporting system and that alternative
has resulted in 93% of the children who go through the evening reporting
program never getting involved in delinquency activities again. The evening reporting system described is
recognized by the Congress of the
Commissioner Daley asked if the alternative programs were increased whether there would be a decrease in the population.
Judge Evans stated that he would like for the
The Community Advisory Committee
1) Doctor Beverly Butler – Community Advisory Committee
2) Kenneth Schmetterer – Community Advisory Committee
3) Katina Cummings – Committee Advisory Committee
4) Sharon Grant – Community Advisory Committee
5) Darthula L. Young – Community Advisory Committee
Chairman Collins asked the Secretary to the Board to call upon the registered public speakers, in accordance with Cook County Code, Sec. 2-108(dd):
1) George Blakemore – Concerned Citizen
2) Sheldon Smith – Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization
3) Damian Turner – Concerned Citizen
Chairman Collins thanked everyone in attendance and concluded the meeting.
Commissioner Daley, seconded by Commissioner Quigley, moved to Receive and File
Communication No. 293372. The motion carried.
Commissioner Daley, seconded by Commissioner Sims moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING ACTION WITH REGARD TO THE MATTER NAMED HEREIN:
Communication Number 293372 Receive and File
Committee on Criminal Justice
Earlean Collins, Chairman
Matthew B. DeLeon, Secretary
complete audio recording of this meeting is available in the Office of the
Secretary to the Board,