COOK COUNTY, Ill. – Dozens rallied outside Cook County Jail Sunday, demanding more transparency and accountability over living conditions inside the facility.

The group “Live Free” wants an independent monitoring committee to regularly inspect the jail.

They say the pandemic only worsened already inhumane conditions.

The jail saw one of the worse prison outbreaks in the country in early December when just under 400 detainees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Ten have died thus far.

Activists say its time for public reports on conditions inside the jail.

“We’re not doing enough and the only way we’re going to help hold our system accountable is if the people have direct access to the conditions and the makeup of this structure,” said 1st District Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

Last Spring, the jail reduced its population and moved detainees into single cells.

A study by Yale and Stanford Universities found that the measures implemented by the jail staff “prevented thousands of COVID-19 infections, hundreds of hospitalizations and dozens of deaths in just the first three months of the outbreak, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a release on March 25.”

About 1,500 tests at Cook County Jail are conducted per week, the statement added.

WGN reached out to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart for additional comment. Our requests have not been returned at this time.

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