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Cook County sheriff working to tighten up monitoring of boot camp grads

Updated: December 25, 2013 6:35AM

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has tightened his monitoring of inmates who complete the boot camp program at the Cook County Jail after an internal review found problems with their supervision, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Dart ordered the review of boot camp about two months ago.

“The problem was the sheriff found the supervision was not being run as strictly as he would like,” said Cara Smith, his chief policy adviser.

After the review, the sheriff’s office contacted almost 240 inmates in their final stage of supervision and ordered them back on electronic monitoring and house arrest.

Inmates who complete the four-month boot camp are placed on eight months of supervision.

Traditionally, they were placed on house arrest and electronic monitoring during their first month of supervision. In the remaining seven months of their supervision, the electronic monitoring and house arrest were lifted. They were supposed to report regularly to counselors and submit to random drug tests.

“Now, we put them all on EM, and they can earn their way off it,” Smith said. “We will have zero tolerance for any violation of their supervision terms.”

Penalties for violations can range from stricter supervision terms to prison.

“The spirit of boot camp was designed to be one last chance before prison,” Smith said. “In the wake of the violence in the city — the park shooting — we wanted to enhance the supervision.”

Every boot camp inmate on supervision is now either in a boot camp vocational program, in school or in a job in the private sector, Smith said.

A dozen boot camp inmates who have failed to report their whereabouts while on supervision are being sought on arrest warrants.

Henry Solomon, whose son was one of the boot camp inmates placed on electronic monitoring, said the clampdown was unfair.

His 22-year-old son, Darrell Law, was sent to boot camp after violating probation on a burglary conviction.

He completed the four-month boot camp program and was placed on house arrest for a month.

Then his house arrest and electronic monitoring were lifted, and he was required to report to a probation officer regularly.

On Oct. 18, he was placed back on house arrest.

“I think they’re taking it out on the kids in boot camp because the guy who shot up the park made them look bad,” Solomon said. “Why tell them they can go off house arrest, and then say, ‘Never mind?’ It’s a burden.”

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