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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



'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

The Watchdogs: Ruling on Sheriff Tom Dart’s Merit Board could put firings in doubt
Monday, February 23, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Electronic monitoring spikes in Cook County
Monday, February 23, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Dart: Rauner budget cuts “alarming,” lack “financial sense”
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Capitol Fax

Cunningham out as public defender
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Inmate killed in Cook County Jail shouldn't have been locked up there
Monday, February 16, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Cook County corrections officer charged
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Daily Herald

Forest Preserve District of Cook County celebrates centennial
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Daily Herald

Two more Cook County measles cases bring Illinois total to 13
Friday, February 13, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

CTA to test late-night Purple Line Express train
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Chicago Red Eye

Cook County OKs ordinance to combat wage theft
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Chicago Tribune

FOREST PRESERVES HOLDS 100TH ANNIVERSARY BOARD MEETING
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Special to suffredin.org

Could concealed carry come to Cook County Forest Preserves?
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Daily Herald

Keep guns out of Cook County forest preserves
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Stomach Virus Outbreak Prompts Quarantine At Cook County Jail
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
CBS Local

Forest Preserve of Cook County to host Darwin Celebration Days
Sunday, February 08, 2015
ABC 7

State confirms 6 cases of measles in Cook County
Saturday, February 07, 2015
Chicago Tribune

How Chase slips a solicitation into your Cook County property tax bill
Friday, February 06, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Chief Judge Evans selects superintendent for juvenile detention center
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Special to suffredin.org

In Illinois, concealed carry of guns has quiet first year; expansion sought
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle shuffles economic devlopment team
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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