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Group Demands Improved Release Conditions For Cook County Jail Inmates, Including Provided Coats When Cold

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Volunteers in Little Village are calling on the Cook County Jail to make improvements for inmates when they are released -- specifically when it is cold outside.

The group hosted a coat driver and rally Saturday in hopes of raising $1,000.

They are also demanding Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart improve release conditions for inmates. That includes letting people out before 10 p.m. and five hours after they post bond as well as providing a proper coat if it's cold outside.

In a statement, the Cook County Sheriff's office said it already does provide coats and other accommodations to those released from custody at the Cook County Jail:

"The Sheriff's Office takes seriously its responsibility to protect the well-being of individuals while they are in custody and before they leave. Individuals being released from custody at Cook County Jail are offered coats, bus cards, and linkage to community resources and services before they are discharged. The jail, as a matter of practice, distributes cold weather attire to individuals.

"As it does every year, the jail began offering coats and sweatshirts in October and currently has more than 700 coats and sweatshirts to give free-of-charge to anyone leaving custody who needs or wants one. Since the beginning of this year, jail staff have distributed more than 14,700 bus cards to individuals leaving custody. Staff from the Sheriff's Community Resource Center also speak with individuals leaving custody to see if they would like to be connected to specific resources post-release. The jail works with a number of community and volunteer organizations and is always willing to partner with more organizations interested in assisting individuals in custody."

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