Activists, nurses union save a matter to $157 million slash from Cook County sheriff’s residing of work budget – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Sep 09, 2020 7: 22 PM

Cassandra Greer-Lee, widow of former Cook County Jail detainee Nickolas Lee, speaks at a news conference in support of a new budget for Cook County that entails divesting $157 million from the Cook County Jail and investing it back into the community, on Sept. 9, 2020, in Chicago.

Cassandra Greer-Lee, widow of faded Cook County Detention heart detainee Nickolas Lee, speaks at a news convention in enhance of a recent budget for Cook County that entails divesting $157 million from the Cook County Detention heart and investing it aid into the neighborhood, on Sept. 9, 2020, in Chicago. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

A coalition of activists and union people rolled out a “Budget for Sunless Lives” on Wednesday that proposes to slash the Cook County sheriff’s residing of work budget by $157 million amid a national debate over policing and incarceration systems.

About 20 backers of the proposal gathered at Stroger Sanatorium on the Advance West Aspect to press Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners to undertake their belief to divest from Cook County Detention heart and redirect that cash into social services for Sunless and Latino communities in the 2021 budget.

One neighborhood organizer acknowledged the coalition will not ride on the $157 million decide on fable of “Sunless lifestyles is a priority.”

“This course of could well well merely get a whereas, but we truly won’t conclude unless we get the complete lot that we save a matter to for our communities,” Tanya Watkins, govt director of Southsiders Organized for Solidarity and Liberation, acknowledged. “We include now moderately plenty of incarceration, and moderately heaps of individuals who don’t in actuality feel salvage the least bit. So I believe that the answer is clear.”

Watkins then asked the assorted activists whether or not incarceration works in ensuring public safety. They responded with a convincing “no.”

The workers’s proposed Budget for Sunless Lives would allocate $60 million of that cash from the sheriff’s residing of work toward housing, largely for lease subsidies below the Housing Authority of Cook County. Every other $55.4 million would toddle toward offsetting proposed cuts to Cook County Effectively being, equivalent to skill layoffs and South Aspect outpatient sanatorium consolidations, as neatly as diverse services for physical and mental neatly being including a major responder program that sends mental neatly being workers rather than police to obvious emergencies.

Alia Lyall, left, and Kevin Blumenberg, both members of The People’s Lobby, hang backdrops in preparation for a news conference detailing their a new budget for Cook County that entails divesting $157 million from the Cook County Jail and investing it back into the community on Sept. 9, 2020.

Alia Lyall, left, and Kevin Blumenberg, each and every people of The Of us’s Lobby, hang backdrops in preparation for a news convention detailing their a recent budget for Cook County that entails divesting $157 million from the Cook County Detention heart and investing it aid into the neighborhood on Sept. 9, 2020. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Restorative justice and violence prevention organizations would get $10.5 million, and the remainder of the cash would toddle to job coaching, the Cook County public defender’s residing of work, broadband internet get entry to and services for incarcerated people.

“We desire a budget that reflects that we aren’t supreme truly attempting to detention heart all our complications away,” Amika Tendaji with Sunless Lives Matter Chicago acknowledged. “We include now two choices. Either we reflect that Sunless people deserve public neatly being, mental neatly being, the sources that communities need, otherwise you suspect that Sunless people are supreme inherently prison and could well perchance merely be in detention heart.”

Southsiders Organized for Solidarity and Liberation, The Of us’s Lobby, National Nurses United, Shriver Center on Poverty Regulations and the Chicago Neighborhood Bond Fund are at the aid of the campaign for the urged budget. Their blueprint comes about a month after the Board of Commissioners overwhelmingly handed a nonbinding decision that helps reallocating cash from policing and incarceration, a nod to the hundreds who took to Chicago’s streets this summer season to rally and march for reimagining the position of rules enforcement primarily based on the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Commissioner Brandon Johnson, D-Chicago, acknowledged it used to be too early to pinpoint his desired decide for reallocating the sheriff’s residing of work’s budget because the county grapples with potentially its greatest budget shortfall in a decade. Nonetheless “there’s no amount mountainous ample” in phrases of repairing the injury from a “failed, racist incarceration gadget,” he acknowledged.

“As essential cash as imaginable to enter the lives of communities which had been desperately calling for investment for a long time is a righteous call,” Johnson acknowledged. “Our budget has to mirror how essential we in actuality tag Sunless lives.”

A spokesman for Preckwinkle’s residing of work did not acknowledge to a save a matter to for comment on Wednesday. Commissioner Lawrence Suffredin, D-Evanston, acknowledged the activists’ notify can be idea to be despite his initial reservations on the amount.

“What we’ve obtained to conclude is wait till we glance what the president’s going to conclude,” Suffredin acknowledged. “I’m presuming that she’s going to be light to about a of the discussions, but it completely appears to be like to me that that amount is terribly, very high.”

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Bigger than 20% of Cook County’s $6.2 billion budget this 12 months goes toward public safety, the 2d-highest expenditure following the neatly being fund. That public safety fund comprises the sheriff’s residing of work, which besides working Cook County Detention heart polices unincorporated Cook County and fills in for cash-strapped suburban agencies. Bigger than half of of the sheriff’s annual budget goes into the Department of Corrections and Neighborhood Corrections Department.

Sheriff Tom Creep’s residing of work did circuitously take care of the activists’ requires on Wednesday, but a spokeswoman acknowledged Creep “has lengthy been a major in the hassle to slay pointless and unjust incarceration” and expanded mental neatly being programming at the detention heart.

Earlier in a July speech, Creep dinged these who want to slash his residing of work’s budget.

“The defund people, they’re misplaced on fable of I repeatedly acknowledged, ‘OK, neatly then what’s your solution? What are you going to conclude whereas you defund the police?’” Creep acknowledged.

Advised on Chicago Tribune

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