Confined to Cook County Jail for 121 days because he couldn’t make bail, a 19-year-old detainee just caught a break.
• Translation: He was just given his freedom by a stranger.
• To wit: Heeding Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s frequent call to end the unjust incarceration of detainees too poor to post bail to obtain pretrial freedom, Sneed has learned a retired man and his wife became anonymous contributors Friday by posting $500 in bail money for a young man described as a nonviolent offender.
It was also the prisoner’s first time in detention.
Arrested in January on the charge of possession of a controlled substance, which is a class 4 felony, it was the detainee’s first booking in the Cook County Jail.
Sneed is told the contributor reached out to Dart’s “Hardship Project,” which connects generous individuals with low-level, nonviolent offenders who need a $1,000 or less to bond out so they can spend time awaiting trial in the community going to school, working or caring for their families — rather than locked up.
So far, 120 detainees have been bonded out since the Hardship Project launched last September.
“We believe we need to do something about people who sit in jail because they don’t have the cash to bond out,” the donor said. “I don’t think it does anybody any good to sit in jail because it is not helpful to getting them to turn their lives around.”
• The kicker: On Friday, the day the bond was posted, there were another 169 individuals who needed $1,000 or less to bail out of the jail for nonviolent offenses.
The Trump set . . .
Is former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski set for a reset?
Sneed hears rumbles Lewandowski, who has been making big bucks lobbying as a true Trumpster, may be joining the White House staff in an advisory capacity.
Would he replace Press Secretary Sean Spicer?
Would he become a top advisor?
As Lewandowski once told Sneed: “Donald Trump was like a father to me. That’s how much I think of him. He always referred to me and Hope Hicks [White House spokeswoman] as the “kids” when were on the campaign plane.”
Rahm ’em . . .
A double serving of second chance?
Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel is getting personally involved in a spat between the CTA and the CTA union, weighing in to save a program that has provided hundreds of ex-offenders with jobs with the transit authority.
At issue is the CTA’s Second Chance Program, which has doubled in size under Emanuel.
In a letter obtained by Sneed, dispatched to Larry Hanley, International President Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, and signed by Emanuel, Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter, a strong plea is made to save the program, which has become a serious sticking point in recent months — with the union trying to end it and CTA trying to maintain it.
“Unfortunately, this longstanding, life-changing program — whose participants are all full dues-paying ATU members — is now in jeopardy as a result of the actions of ATU Locals 241 and 308,” the letter states.
“Providing a true “second chance” to hundreds of Chicagoans who are ex-offenders, the program takes a multi-faceted approach to preparing individuals to be self-sufficient. The Second Chance Program provides not only a job cleaning CTA buses and trains, but also includes training, education, mentoring and networking to give participants the best chance to succeed in life. ”
A top mayoral aide tells Sneed, “it’s not just a good program, it’s the right thing to do — for the city and for those leaving jail or prison.”