Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



'Jail diversion' program OK'd
Public health committee looking for ways to deal with mentally ill, drug-dependent inmates

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

With more than 1,000 mentally ill inmates sitting in its jail, Cook County is pushing local law enforcement to overhaul the way it treats people with mental illness and dependence on drugs.

While the details and funding are still undecided, the county's public health committee passed an ordinance Wednesday establishing a "jail diversion" program.

The program trains police, jailers, prosecutors and judges to recognize mental illness and route those people out of the justice system and into treatment.

"These are people who often cannot speak for themselves when they're in crisis. This particular group was left behind from the beginning," said Karen Siegel, a volunteer with the county's project task force who presented the program to the committee.

When state mental health hospitals were shut down in the 1970s and 1980s, patients were supposed to be sent to community-based treatment centers, a process that largely collapsed. Mental patients who were poor or lacked family support often were left homeless and were frequently arrested for causing disturbances, trespassing and drug possession.

The diversion program seeks to reconnect those patients with local treatment centers. Under the blueprint approved Wednesday, police could call a 24-hour crisis hot line run by the state and county that would connect them to a local provider.

Only nonviolent offenders would be eligible, and the hot line lets police and prosecutors hand off the patients quickly instead of needing weeks for a referral.

A similar system would connect nonviolent drug offenders to treatment centers. Drug offenses make up more than half of the county's criminal caseload, according to a recent report.

Although county and state budgets are both tight, Commissioner Earlean Collins, who has spearheaded the project, said she thinks both governments will commit money because it will save them money later.

"We are trying to get an intergovernmental agreement, through the Legislature ... so (the state) cannot dump the responsibility for these patients on the county," Collins said.

The ordinance, which is up for final approval at a county board meeting Oct. 18, requires the county to appoint an official advisory panel to design a pilot program and report back within six months.

Chicago police have established "crisis intervention teams" in two police districts and has received federal funding to train officers citywide. Each officer in the team takes a 40-hour course in identifying mental illness and defusing crisis situations.

Those teams have had great success, but the greatest problem remains finding some place to take a patient once the situation has been calmed down, said Chicago police Lt. Jeff Murphy, who trains the teams.

"Most of the areas where we have the highest degree of need is where we have the lowest amount of services," Murphy said.

Siegel said the county may be able to dedicate some of the money used to run the county jail to paying mental health service providers.

Medicaid and private insurance will pay for much of the treatment, Collins said. Right now that money is cut off when mental patients enter jail, but local treatment centers could still bill for their services.

To help keep those centers afloat, the ordinance calls for the county to establish a revolving loan fund that would kick in if Medicaid hasn't paid up within 45 days.



Recent Headlines

Records falsified in Metra work logs
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County approves road projects for upcoming years
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Northwest Indiana Times

Palatine, County Forest Preserve To Partner Up
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Palatine Journal Online

Man dies following beating at Cook County Jail
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health Board selects new leaders
Friday, July 25, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to the Cook County Land Bank
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board adds two questions to packed fall ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County to cut buildings' carbon emissions
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments

Forest Preserves of Cook County to get expertise, guidance from new Policy Council
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Special to suffredin.org

Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches for a price
Monday, July 21, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Community leaders, sheriff aim to help mentally ill inmates
Monday, July 21, 2014
FOX 32 Chicago

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system
Monday, July 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune

New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings - stat
Monday, July 14, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Fitch cuts rating on Cook County
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Reuters

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP