Cook County Jail Reflection Paper

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Soc 310
Cook County Jail Reflection Paper
Autumn 2009
Our visit to Cook County Jail was very stimulating to say the least. The community that the jail system is located in is primarily filled with Mexican Americans and seems to be very poor. I think that the jail is located there with no consideration of lowering property level due to the fact that it is already a poor neighborhood. I think that it further harms this community because the youth are exposed to jail system unnecessarily. I think that the jail system being placed in this community benefits the employees that work there, they don’t have the establishment in there community but can travel there and go back home to there possibly safer neighborhoods. I noticed a few disturbing things in the criminal court. This was my first time ever witnessing the court being set up with the audience behind a window; this in my opinion takes away from the entire feel of court. I noticed that every single employee in our court-judge, prosecutor, security guard, secretary were all white. While all the families in the waiting area were Mexican and African American. I was also disturbed by the behavior of the employees before court started, everybody was laughing and joking together while all of the family members sadly looked on. I also noticed that the judge cut off the microphone quite often and we couldn’t hear what was being said, I found this particularly disturbing because if we were in a traditional court room this wouldn’t have been an option and the family member of the particular inmate was very upset. The entire experience at the Cook County jail in my opinion was very uncomfortable. From the time we walked in the door the security personnel spoke to us as if we were inmates and told us what to do instead of asking. This directly corresponded to our readings on theories of power, punishment, and control. I felt as if I was a criminal, when I asked the security guard a question he didn’t give me...
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