Cook County jail launching effort to help mentally ill inmates - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Cook County jail launching effort to help mentally ill inmates

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CHICAGO (AP) -- The Cook County Sheriff's Department is launching an effort to help mentally ill jail inmates before and after they are released.

Sheriff Tom Dart's office says he is establishing the Office of Mental Health Policy and Advocacy. The sheriff also is starting a 24-hour mental health hotline that's exclusively for those who have been released from jail and the families of people still in jail.

Dart says he's hoping the mentally ill can find help so they don't commit crimes again and end up back behind bars.

Cook County's jail is the largest single site jail in the nation. Dart's office says that out of the 10,000 people locked up, as many as 2,500 of them are mentally ill.

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