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Cook County Jail

3015 S California Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 869-5245‎

Interview with Rachel, Jason, Kat, JM Advice, Brian, DavidP, keke, Teabag, Crystal, Edward, isaac, Lucky, Kathy, Lisa, Apache, Janet, Ron, Ryan, Laetia, Dennis, Laura, Fernando, Gail, George, Rich, Mark, John, Juan, Erik, Scott, Shawn, Dominic, James, Carl, Josh, Jose and Laydie

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Rachel: 6 years
Jason: None..I was held in cook county for about 3 days, in the worst conditions I have ever seen.. My name was Mother F*er, ( sorry for the profanity) but this is what I was called by EVERY GUARD. Male or Female. I was complyed with every reguest as a gentle with respect to everyone.
Kat: Thirty Days there but charges were dropped and I was released after three days because I paid off bad checks.
JM Advice: Following conviction the judge may either make a decision on the spot or require a PSI (pre-sentence investigation). A PSI is a investigative process aimed at determining the optimal incarceration time frame for you and your crime. They will consider various things such as your involvement in the crime, your overall threat to the community and the impact of your crime(s) on victims. You can sit in the Cook County Jail waiting for a trial for a felony and in this case you can be in here for as long as it takes for you to have a trial. If you've been charged with a felony, though, you will be transferred to a prison. Cook County Jail only houses inmates waiting for trial or those who have been convicted of misdemeanors. If you are sentenced on multiple charges pay attention carefully to whether your sentences will run "consecutively" or "concurrently." If they run consecutively you can add the sentences together to find out your total sentence - if they are concurrent you will only actually serve one sentence. So, for instance, if you receive a sentence of a year each on four different charges and they run consecutively you will serve four years (two years with time off). If you receive the same charges but they run concurrently you will serve a total of one year (in theory you are serving all of the sentences at the same time).
Brian: Well, he pretty much told me to return at a later date to clear everything I needed to clear in order to get my license current again. The whole point of me going to jail was because my license was suspended, because there were some fees that I didn't pay off that I needed to clear and pay in order to get my license current again. For my situation, it was pretty simple. The judge said, "Just take care of those fees and come back." He scheduled me to come back like two weeks later.
DavidP: Six months was the sentence, and I served half.
keke: 4 months
Teabag: I have been in CCDOC 12+ times (cant remember exact amt. of times) all times I was fighting cases in court. Longest stay in CCDOC was 18 months back in 2001
Crystal: Two years.
Edward: 6 Months for contempt of day for day just 6 months
isaac: 60 days
Lucky: 60 days county time.
Kathy: 3 years
Lisa: I was not sentence I had was only being hold at the county for lake county Indaina to come expedite me back there because of a warrant.
Apache: total 28 years
Ron: 30 days
Ryan: Two years.
Laetia: Was never sentenced as the STATE OF Illinois had no witness or video tape.
Dennis: One year IDOC, one year parole.
Laura: 2 years Supervision
Fernando: my sentencing was 30 days,but it was time served
Gail: 90 days in a treatment center,2 1/2 years probation and $1000 restitution....This was after the initial time I had already spent waiting for trial and to find me a bed in a treatment center which was a couple of months
George: One year but I was out in 6 months.
Mark: sometimes for a weekend in jail and at times a month.
John: I was in for 6 to 7 months
Juan: i was held for2 months onthis charge...because of the continuance..
Scott: I was sentence to 21 months in the IDOC.
Jason: i was sentenced to 45 days in the county
Shawn: 6 months tcs task and 2 1/2 probation
Dominic: My sentence was for twelve years.
James: time served which was 2 days
Carl: i was sentenced to 60 days
Josh: I fought my charges for 8 months.
Jose: I was not technically sentenced.

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Rachel: i felt sick.
Jason: Yes Hour`s and Hour`s, with people trying to steal my under garments, shoe , socks, eyeglasses. I went hours without any food are water, I was urinated on threatened to be raped, beat up, and many other discusting situations. My personal items when I was booked in were STOLEN, when I was handing over my cash and wallet I had Chinese currency on me from my business trip. The guard told me he wanted it to keep, and that I was not going to get it back anyway. I also had 300.00 in US currency that was never returned to me..
Kat: Yes. Horrible. NO running water -- thirty women in room -- no food or water. Gross and disgusting floor and walls.
JM Advice: Be prepared to spend a lot of time in holding cells if you are going through sentencing at the Cook County Jail. You will probably be put in handcuffs and possibly shackles - the court uses different holding cells for different classes of offenders. Feel free to talk to the other people in the holding cells, but don't discuss your case - anything you talk about may be used against you in the courtroom later.
Brian: Yeah, for another two or three hours.
DavidP: Oh yeah. 24 hours. I actually went into the jail proper, and was in a holding area. I may have gone into two different holding cells, and the whole intake process took roughly 24 hours. You're in a holding cell for a while, and then you go into another holding cell, and then they take you into intake, meaning they take your information, your fingerprints, and a nurse checks you for any illnesses or diseases or anything else, and you go through that. There's about six or eight different steps. After you go through that, you get put back into a holding cell. Once I got out of that holding cell, I got put into the jail proper. From the time I left the courtroom until I got into the jail cell where I was permanently housed was roughly 24 hours.
keke: yes in the holding cell for 18 hours you get 6 hours out a day that is some horriable sh* and its inhuman
Teabag: I have spent time 7 different times in my cell after sentencing. For each of my 7 felony convictions.
Crystal: In CCDOC you constantly are placed in holding cells, men like sardines packed in and women less crowded. They may be only one water fountain and it may not work. Try to drink as much water as possible before being taken to the holding tanks between the jail and courtroom. You may be there all day with little to drink except 8 oz of KookAid if the fountain doesn't work. If you are in an outlying courtroom you will be transported there between 7-9 a.m. and returned between 4 and 6 p.m. If you are at 26th and California criminal courtrooms you may spend less time in holding cells. The cells are dirty, not having been properly cleaned in decades with mold and inches of dust hanging down off the ventilation gratings. The toilets may not work and the it stinks and is in the basement in general. 555 Harrison is newer and has nicer holding cells with plexiglass and electronic doors as do most of the outlying courthouses. 26th and California main criminal felony court has disgusting and foul holding cells behind courtroom and between courthouse and jail. You go through two sets of holding cells to get from jail to behind courtroom holding cells. A few months ago due to the fact that I won a mandmus against the State and both a State agency and the feds are investigating abuse, torture, rape, medical neglect, etc. at the jail, the holding cells were suddenly cleaned and toilets and fountains fixed. They now smell like antiseptic and are much more less of a health risk and place where infections are spread. They have a major problem with the spread of staph infections so wash your hands with at least water but better with soap whenever possible.
Edward: It was Filthy,cramped.The correction officers really like to screw with you.I asked a question about whats going on cause i never been to Jail before and one Officer got into my face and was screaming at me also it was 9 hours before I started the inprocessing.
isaac: no
Lucky: Yeah, waiting to go back to my division.
Laydie: my time spent was small overnight. the guards kept good watch over the inmates.
Kathy: Yes. Horrible. Have to sit and sleep on floors until court is over or everyone else is brought back to holding cell for transport back to CCDOC
Lisa: Yes i spent time in a holding the cell was very nasty and the intake officers has very nasty attitudes all of them that work in the processing part of cook county jail.
Apache: yes slow process
Ron: yes, I was white
Ryan: Every time you either are given a sentence or "cop out" it is always a surrreal experience.
Laetia: Yes. Brutal, degrading, humiliating. Other inmates that were detoxing were not given medical treatment. No food, water, no phone calls. you were already guilty. no one would listen to you
Dennis: Tiny, cramped.
Laura: No.
Fernando: no,after sentencing i was took to another police station and booked in and then finally got processed out of 111 st station,and given my personal effects back to me there.
Gail: Yes.Lonely but it made me remember all the more why I should stay out of these places and live for my family.Fun tidbit....The guard with the cell keys lost them and had the nerve to ask me if I saw them(???REALLY?) after waiting 2 hours to urinate.So I could not go back to my division or use the bathroom.Needless to say I was pretty pissed off!
George: Yes I did.It was dirty as you know what and it was smelly.The room was so crowded that you could not sit on the floor.It was fighting going on in there also.
Mark: yes i spent time in a holding cell. the time you spend in a holding cell can be anywhere from 2 hours up to 48 hours. the longest i was in a holding cell and without clean food and water was 25 hours.
John: yeaf I was I spunt timer in a holding cell over night in its bogus first of all they got u sleeping on a slab of concrete the air conditioner it s on full blast no matter how hot or cold it is
Juan: yes...over cowding nowhere to sit but the floor...given a bologne eyeglasses weere taken away from me beacuse of them being metal frames...i was blind as a bat.couldnt watch tv
Scott: Yes, it felt like the end of the world, everybody else was either being sentenced as well of getting bull pen (holding cell) continuences. The mood in these cells were always dreadful.
Jason: i spent about 4 hours in a holding cell awaiting with other people charged with a variety of crimes ranging from attempted murder, dOmestic, stealing, drug posse3ssion to other traffic offenses. it was an experience to say the least. the young kids was acting if it was another day at school as they seemed accustomed to the process.
Shawn: yes you have to wait to go in a line and if you dont ge out befor 130 you get stuck there all dsy and then ontop of it all the judge never signed wheter i got ptobstio or a continuance
Dominic: After I was sentenced, I spent about an hour in the bullpen holding cell. Then I was transported back to Division ten, where I spent another week before I was transported to an Illinois state penitentiary
James: the holding cell was hot, crowed and dirty. prisoners had standing room only and there was maybe 60 ppl in a cell of 10 by 15 foot. one common exposed toliet. just nasty.
Carl: yes i spent a day in a holding cell and it was pure hell no cover and it was freezing in there and i couldn't take a shower till i got to div 4
Josh: About 1 hour. Then they took me to my unit were I thought I was going home but didn't because I had a warrant. Nobody said a word to me about it.
Jose: I was placed from holding cell to holding cell with about 30 different criminals with charges from theft to attempted murder. It was very nerve-racking and from what I hear it is different than most jails in this form of operation.

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The Cook County Jail is the largest single-site county jail in the US - it houses almost 10,000 inmates at any given time. Most people who have done time in Cook County report that it is similar to prison - it is more violent than the average county jail and houses many different types of criminals. People who are convicted of felonies are not housed in Cook County Jail, though - it is strictly used to house inmates awaiting trial and people convicted of misdemeanors.

We've interviewed several ex-inmates of the jail to share exclusive details on what life inside the jail is really like. Go ahead and browse the categories on the left side to find the information you're looking for. If you don't see an answer to your questions go ahead and ask your question and it will probably be answered by somebody who has either been in the jail or knows a lot about it.

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