Juvenile Detention Center Faces Personnel Shake Up

CHICAGO — Cook County’s superintendent of juvenile detention resigned following the appointment of Bobbie Steele as county commission president.

Steele took office in August following the resignation of John Stroger, who left the post because of health problems. Steele is expected to step down in December when an election will be held for the seat.

Steele asked Robinson to resign amidst reports of continuing problems and resistance to court-ordered reforms at the juvenile detention center, according to reports.

Robinson, a 36-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, accepted the superintendent position in June 2005, but had no corrections experience. During his tenure, the center came under scrutiny due to reports of abuse, resistance to court-ordered reforms and allegations of payroll and contract fraud.

The county has been in litigation with the American Civil Liberties for the last seven years. The ACLU alleges instances of child abuse, negligence, and unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

The ACLU originally filed a federal suit in 1999 on behalf of detainees, but settled almost four years ago when the county agreed to approve conditions. Litigation resumed when the ACLU contended that the county had not made any headway on court-ordered improvements.

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