Cook County jail downsizing as inmate population shrinks

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CHICAGO -- Three Cook County jail buildings are being demolished, as the jail population sinks to its lowest numbers since 1991.

County officials announced Wednesday Divisions 1, 3 and 17 are going down, in a move that will save county taxpayers $3 million next year and $180 million over the next decade.

Officials say the buildings are obsolete and underutilized.  They say more modern buildings require fewer workers to operate.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart credits the shrinking jail population to removing inmates who don't belong in jail to drug and mental health programs.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says I-Bonds and electronic monitoring has also played a major role in keeping non-violent offenders out of jail.