The Criminal Justice System Can Be Confusing


If this is your first time involved in the criminal justice system and you are trying to navigate it for yourself or a family member, it can be confusing and daunting. It also has many players at many levels who do not communicate with each other.  Despite what it appears to be on television, police, courts, medical services, jails, and prisons are often unable to communicate with one another because of unique systemic constraints. Understanding the demands of these systems will equip you to successfully navigate a re-entry for you or a loved one.  Here are a series of papers to help you better understand this complex system.


  1. Understanding the System - Jails are not Prisons

  2. What happens on the day you leave Cook County Jail (document pending)

  3. Understanding Jail- There are many ways you may leave so planning for your discharge can be complicated by your case.

  4. What happens on the day you leave prison (document pending)

  5. What are the barriers to leaving prison (document pending)

  6. Understanding the mental health system in a jail or prison

  7. The special case of sex offenders

  8. Understanding the "C" numbers- The forgotten group on true parole