CHICAGO, May 19 (Reuters) - A clinical psychologist will be appointed head of Chicago's Cook County Jail, the nation's second-largest jail where a third of the inmates are mentally ill, officials announced on Tuesday.
Nneka Jones Tapia will become executive director of the jail on May 26, county officials said. Tapia, who has been with the sheriff's office since 2013 and oversees mental health strategy, replaces Cara Smith, who will become chief strategy officer for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
I've known quite a few psychologists who are employed at the jail or did clinical training there. As the Reuters article indicates, since the 1960s, the number of beds in Illinois psychiatric hospitals has declined from 35,000 to just 1500. With inadequate support for deinstitutionalization, many who would have been treated in psychiatric hospitals, now end up in Cook County jail or, as Sheriff Tom Dart has described it, "the largest mental health facility in the country."