Chicago style

August 6, 2008

This report might shock a few of you, but I lived just around Lake Michigan from Chicago for eight years, so it struck me as just belaboring the obvious:

It’s getting tougher for the dishonest, the mentally unstable and the overweight to get hired as Cook County jail guards these days. As a result, fewer guards are getting hired.

Until recently, would-be correctional officers only had to pass a drug test, a criminal background check and a physical agility test that included bending over and picking up a chair.

I think it was William F. Buckley who said he would rather be governed by the first 100 people in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. The Chicago version is that you would probably get better guards just by enlisting the 100 least-dangerous prisoners. And let’s not even talk about city council members.

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