Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



'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

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Sunday, November 13, 2918
Chicago Sun-Times

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018
Patch

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
ABC 7

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

HOPE Court, created to keep probationers out of prison, shut down amid problems
Friday, October 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Can Kaegi really reform the assessor's office?
Friday, October 26, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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