CHICAGO (CBS) — Four top Cook County officials offered a wide spectrum of opinions Thursday as they talked about resolving problems in the criminal justice system, though all agreed too many people charged with minor crimes end up locked up in jail.
At a City Club of Chicago forum, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart complained there are too many people who have committed low-level crimes – like stealing candy bars – sitting in Cook County Jail for months before they face trial.
Chief Judge Timothy Evans suggested the problem is not that simple.
“Many of the people who you hear about, who are charged with the theft of six or seven candy bars, have a long criminal history, where they have been convicted of attempted murder,” he said.
Dart said that’s not what he’s talking about.
“When I talk about the retail thieves, I look at their backgrounds. Their entire background, with an occasional anomaly, is all retail theft. It’s not as if retail theft, homicide, retail theft … no,” he said.