Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans speaks to reporters in 2019. [Alex Nitkin/The Daily Line]

Advocates and some Cook County officials are pressing for better data collection and more efficient scheduling in the county’s mammoth court system, saying reforms could help wind down the county’s unique backlog of defendants languishing in jail for years while they await trial.

The longstanding delays in the nation’s second-largest court system grabbed county commissioners’ attention in November, when Sheriff Tom Dart shared data during a budget hearing showing that more than one-third of the jail’s detainees have been locked up there at least a year, and 172 defendants — about 3 percent of the jail population — have spent more than five years awaiting trial.

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