Frustrated by conditions at Chicago’s Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, critics have asked a federal judge to give some control of the facility to an independent authority, the Chicago Tribune reports. Citing fresh allegations of abuse, staff shortages, and insufficient mental-health services, Northwestern University law professor Thomas Geraghty, appointed by Judge John Nordberg in 1999 to represent the center’s residents, asked the judge to appoint a receiver to operate the center and implement reforms. “Things are getting worse. It’s time to step in to make sure the center is managed properly,” he said.
Geraghty cited an alarming risk of suicide, a climate of fear “fraught with staff and resident violence” and inadequate medical services. He noted a “culture of chaos and incompetence.” Geraghty’s request comes eight years after the American Civil Liberties Union sued Cook County officials, citing unsanitary and violent conditions at the facility. Said the ACLU this week: “Our clients are in urgent danger.”