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Protesters Demand Better Living Conditions in Cook County Jail

A coalition of former inmates, relatives of current inmates, and advocates gathered outside Cook County Jail on Sunday to shed light on what they claim are worsening conditions inside the facility.

The protesters voiced concerns about inadequate access to hygiene products, such as soap, limited medical services, restricted exercise, and violations of inmates’ First Amendment rights.

Cassandra, a woman from South Shore, blames Cook County Jail for the death of her husband, Nicholas, who passed away in April 2020 due to complications from COVID-19.

She alleges that the jail failed to distribute masks until three people had already died.

Cassandra insists that her husband’s death was entirely preventable, emphasizing that he entered the facility as a healthy 42-year-old but left in a body bag.

The gathering aimed to call for much-needed reform and draw attention to the harsh restrictions imposed on inmates.

Protesters highlighted the lack of access to essential hygiene products and medical services, as well as the restriction on exercise within the jail.

They also argued that inmates’ First Amendment rights were being violated, preventing them from practicing their chosen religions.

Ronald, a former inmate, echoed these concerns, pointing out issues such as limited security, extended periods of lockdown, restricted exercise opportunities, and a lack of access to programs.

Advocates are mobilizing following the recent revelation of two disturbing beatings inside the jail.

In one case, a correctional officer was caught on camera brutally punching inmates with handcuffs over his knuckles.

In another incident, surveillance footage captured an officer repeatedly punching a handcuffed inmate.

Both officers have been arrested and charged in connection with these incidents.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office responded to the claims, dismissing them as baseless.

They maintain that their facility is considered a model of safety nationwide and emphasize that inmates are provided with numerous critical services.

The protest at Cook County Jail serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing concerns about living conditions and treatment within the facility.

As calls for reform intensify, the spotlight remains on the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to address the protesters’ grievances and ensure the well-being and constitutional rights of the inmates in their care.

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