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Jail Director Says Visitor’s Abandonment Was ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Mishaps

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miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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(CBS) – The Cook County Sheriff’s office has concluded it was a problem with the system — and not with staff — that left a jail visitor trapped in a room for 32 hours last month.

WBBM’s Steve Miller reports.

Trapped inside a small visiting room, 51-year-old Farad Polk says he pounded on the door.  But there he stayed for 32 hours.  Until he set off the fire sprinklers to get noticed.

Cook County Jail Executive Director Cara Smith says the sheriff’s office did an “exhaustive review.”

Jail Director Explains How Visitor Got Trapped

cook county jail 1116 Jail Director Says Visitors Abandonment Was Perfect Storm Of Mishaps
WBBM 780/105.9FM

“And as a result of that we have strengthened our visiting protocols in all the divisions throughout the jail.”

Smith says every visitor is now given a receipt which they turn in when they leave.

She says no employee is being disciplined.

“It was a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances that came together,” she says.

Smith says the staff in the jail lobby and in the visiting room area looked for Polk – and in fact went “above and beyond” to try to find him.

But she says, “Unfortunately, another visitor in the lobby thought that Mr. Polk had left, which led (the) staff to believe he had left.”

Smith says Cook County Jail has had 160-thousand visitors since the beginning of the year.

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