The massive compound that is the Cook County Jail bears down on the Little Village neighborhood of South Sacramento Avenue between 26th and 31st streets.

A towering concrete slab walls off the inmates’ exercise yard from the neighborhood, though from the right angle residents can see basketball hoops in the yard.

From a certain vantage point, inmates can see the residents, too.

“Hey, sweetheart,” one shouted to a woman walking Wednesday against the glare of the summer sun on the chain-link fence and rows of barbed and sharper razor wires.

“Hey, white girl,” I heard later as I walked across the street.

Mostly, inmates’ banter could be heard.

To live here means the sights and sounds of the jail, a 96-acre facility, are not at all bothersome.

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