Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.

What I learn when I have lunch at Cook County Jail
These are not serial murderers or rapists. They are overwhelmingly people who erred or did wrong but are not bad people.

Monday, October 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times
by Rev. Jesse Jackson

On my birthday this year, I continued my tradition of going to the Cook County Jail to have lunch with some of the 5,552 people who are inmates there. These visits remind me of the humanity of those who are in trouble — and of the inhumanity, even idiocy, of our criminal justice system.

Despite the first steps toward prison reform, the United States still locks up a higher percentage of its population than any other country — even more than repressive nations like China. There are some 2.3 million people locked up in America in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correction facilities, 3,163 local jails, as well as what are called Indian Country Jails, immigration detention facilities and more.


In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.

If prisons were a city, it would be larger than Philadelphia or Dallas, and one of the country’s top 10 in population. In total, about $80 billion a year is spent on correction facilities, compared to the $68 billion spent by the Department of Education.

About 612,000 of this number are in local jails, but that number is misleading. A staggering 10.6 million people go to jail in any one year. Most are released shortly after posting bail or getting out without it. Over two-thirds of the people in jail have not been convicted of any crime. These are overwhelmingly poor people who cannot afford bail.

Prison and jail populations are still disproportionately people of color. African Americans are 12 percent of the country’s population but 33 percent of federal and state prisons’ population. Recently, from 2009 to 2016, the African-American prison population has fallen by about 17 percent, declining more rapidly than the white prison population, which is down about 10 percent. The scourge of the opioid epidemic has significantly contributed to the number of whites in trouble.

Nonviolent offenders make up a significant proportion of the incarcerated — particularly in federal prisons. State and local prisons and jails tend to have more inmates charged with property or violent crimes. Too many are there because of petty violations of the terms of their release from previous charges, not even from committing a new offense.

Inmates, almost by definition, are disproportionately low income. They are “down on their luck,” people struggling under the intense pressures of poverty. They tend to be people who suffer from the diseases of depression, alcoholism or drug abuse.

When I break bread with these people, I always find them to be more intelligent than people think, more humane than people think, more curious and open to experience than people think.

These are not serial murderers or rapists. They are overwhelmingly people who erred or did wrong but are not bad people.

We need a lot more reform of our judicial system and particularly of our system of incarceration. We should be doing far more rehabilitation and far less incarceration.

With 10 million people going to jail each year — and the overwhelming number in jail at any one time not convicted of anything — one thing we should do is register them to vote. The inmates I spoke with were stunned to learn that they were still eligible to vote — and eager to be signed up.

If they were to be registered and to vote, they might help make a difference in the judges that get elected, in the sentences that get handed out, in the injustices that are structured into our justice system. They know better than most that while there are some truly violent people that deserve incarceration, the vast majority need a hand up, not another shackle of more debt, a bad record, a bleaker future.

Illinois, under Governor Pritzker, has set the pace. Legislation was enacted that will turn the county jail into a temporary precinct that will enable “pretrial detainees” — those who are detained but not convicted of anything — to register and vote. That provides a model for states and localities across the country.

These are citizens who have the right to vote. We should make it possible for them to exercise that right.

Send letters to:

Recent Headlines

Editorial: Taxation tough love from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
Friday, December 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County’s property tax burden is shifting in the suburbs: Businesses could be hit hard, but homeowners might catch a break
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The other financial storm threatening to capsize Illinois' economy
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County: Higher property taxes partly a hangover from foreclosure crisis
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Glencoe District 35 increases property tax levy by 4.45%
Sunday, December 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles Township Property Tax Appeal Workshops Offered In Skokie
Friday, December 06, 2019

Want to pay your property taxes early? Here's how.
Wednesday, December 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Column: Twitter exchange with Cook County assessor sums up outrage and exodus: Tax hikes are paying for debt, not services.
Tuesday, December 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles taxing bodies, including schools, set to share $3.4 million surplus of TIF district funds
Tuesday, December 03, 2019
Pioneer Press

Unknown tale: Father George Clements’s role in Cook County court reform
Monday, December 02, 2019
Injustice Watch

State panel faces Dec. 31 deadline for property tax relief recommendations
Monday, December 02, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A drop in people, a $1 billion rise in property taxes
Monday, December 02, 2019
Daily Herald

In tents and under bridges, a new Cook County sheriff’s office program helps hard-to-reach drug users
Sunday, December 01, 2019
Chicago Tribune

No pay-to-play in the Cook County assessor's office
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Dorothy Brown’s office debuts upgrade to criminal court computers to wide ridicule
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Chicago Tribune

What's happening to Chicago's safety-net hospitals?
Monday, November 25, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Health CEO ousted by board
Friday, November 22, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County OKs suburban infrastructure funding
Friday, November 22, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Health CEO out at the end of 2019 after hospital system opts against renewing his contract
Friday, November 22, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board greenlights 2020 budget
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.