Cook County (Ill.) Sheriff Tom Dart–who oversees the largest single-site jail in the United States–announced Tuesday that his office is establishing an Office of Mental Health Policy and Advocacy, as well as a 24-hour mental health hotline for Cook County detainees and their families. Dart has been an outspoken voice on systemic mental health and justice reform; the Adler School Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice has worked with his office and others to implement a number of new approaches within the Cook County system.
Below is part one of an article about those initiatives that was published in our summer 2012 magazine Gemeinschaftsgefühl.
On this February Wednesday, a dozen or so inmates fill the chairs of a fluorescent-lit classroom at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, part of a sprawling complex on Chicago’s West Side that is courthouse, jail, school, infirmary, and—until their cases are adjudicated—home to about 260 boys, ages…
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