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Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans has removed the head of the county’s adult probation department, Jesus Reyes, after years of losing track of hundreds of convicts and repeat offenders. A Chicago Tribune investigation in December found some of those offenders “went on to rape or kill under the courts watch.”

Reyes has been the interim head of the department since 2005. Although Reyes will lose his current post, he is still being retained as “an advisor of research and policy.”

From the Trib:

The Tribune previously reported that the dysfunctional department had fallen short of its mission of holding offenders accountable and creating safer neighborhoods. The story highlighted the case of Micheail Ward, a gang member accused in 2013 of killing 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton while he was on probation.

As in Ward’s case, the Tribune found other instances in which the department conducted sloppy and incomplete case work. Probation officers readily accepted offender accounts that they were not in a gang and had not picked up new arrests when a routine criminal records check could have immediately shown otherwise.

Records showed the probation department also gave potentially dangerous offenders repeated breaks when they violated curfew or other conditions of their release. One such probationer, who was convicted of sexually attacking a teenage girl, went on to rape a 13-year-old girl while out after curfew.

Internal figures from last November showed that more than 1,300 probationers were on the department’s “60-day” list — a list of all those on probation who have not been seen by their officer for at least two months.

Some of those had been rearrested and taken back to jail or had died. But probation officers told the Tribune that many were unaccounted for or had disappeared.

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