CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen have approved a deal to provide $5.5 million in reparations to police torture victims, a step Mayor Rahm Emanuel said was an “essential step in righting a wrong.”

“This stain cannot be removed from our city’s history but it can be used as a lesson of what not to do,” Emanuel said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

The council voted 42-0 in favor of the reparations package, which includes a $5.5 million fund to pay restitution of up to $100,000 each to people with credible claims of torture by disgraced police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his detectives. The package also includes a number of services for torture victims and their families – including free job training and tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago; and psychological, family, substance abuse, and other counseling.

An independent arbitrator would make the final decision on all disputed torture claims. Only victims that have not received a previous settlement from the city will receive reparations from the fund.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) said it’s the least the city can do for torture victims.

“They may have suffered physically years ago, but mentally – and physically, quite frankly – they still suffer today, and this council’s moving forward to try to do what we can to assist these men,” he said.

Advocates for torture victims applauded the council’s vote.

“It’s a truly historic day, one that people have waited far too long for,” Joey Mogul, an attorney who helped broker the reparations deal with the city.

The names of 17 victims of police torture were read aloud in the Council Chambers as aldermen approved the reparations package.

Stanley Rice, 61, was among the victims named. He said he was badly beaten twice until he falsely confessed to a 1982 rape, and spent 31 years behind bars before his conviction was overturned two years ago.

“I really believed I was about to die,” he said of the beating he received. “The anger that they had inside them, and it’s just the way they was beating me was like they just hated me.”

Survivors said the reparations are just a start, because there are dozens more men in prison who were victims of Burge’s torture tactics.

The city already has spent more than $20 million defending Burge, his detectives, and former Mayor Richard M. Daley against lawsuits stemming from torture allegations. The city also has spent approximately $100 million to settle lawsuits stemming from police torture committed by Burge and his detectives in the 1970s and 1980s.

Burge was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993. He was never prosecuted for acts of torture, but in 2010 he was tried and convicted for lying under oath about torture. He was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison, and spent more than three years behind bars, before finishing the final months of his sentence in a Florida halfway house. He was released from federal custody in February.