By Brad Edwards

(CBS) – The Cook County Jail inmate population is an historic low, but what does that mean for taxpayers?

2 Investigator Brad Edwards talks with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Dart, who has preached jail reform for years, saw results in 2017. He was named sheriff of the year by Governing magazine.

“Now, the bar has been raised as far as who we’re going to incarcerate. They need to be a danger,” Dart says.

The change has come because of a re-calibration of bond practices.

“It’s not as if murderers, and armed robbers and rapists are all now wandering the streets. No, it’s people who should never have been in there in the first place,” Dart says.

In 2013, the jail population was nearly 11,000. Today, it’s about 6,000 – a drop of roughly 5,000.

“Taxpayers are getting immediate savings,” Dart tells Edwards.

At population peak, jail guards were raking in $2 million in overtime each pay period. Now, it’s less than a tenth that – below $200,000 in OT each pay period.

On another topic, Dart insists he’s not angling for another office, like Illinois attorney general or mayor of Chicago.

 

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