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Today’s quotable

Monday, Sep 28, 2015

* From the SJ-R

“I challenge you to find a more stupid and pig-headed way to deal with the mentally ill.” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on people with mental illness who end up in local jails because they can’t get proper treatment as a result of state budget cuts.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:13 am:

    Yep, pretty much says it all.

  2. - Tha missin g - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:15 am:

    You could elect them to office….

  3. - anon - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    So, everything was fine prior to the budget impasse?

  4. - walker - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    In the richest nation in the world.

  5. - Tournaround Agenda - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    @anon, it may not have been “fine,” but I don’t think anyone can argue it’s better now.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    FEMA camps?

  7. - Guzzlepot - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    @Anon at 9:17a

    Dart has been talking about this for years. And he is right,the system is backwards.

  8. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    Would be nice for Dart to provide some statistics. Is he talking about a couple, a few, or hundreds? Numbers, please would help to clarify the extent of this issue.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:22 am:


    “It’s baloney”, says Gov. Rauner when asked about Sheriff Dart’s quote. “What the Sheriff fails to fully understand is that Speaker Madigan is willing to put those needing mental health services in a worse place, where they can’t seek treatment because of Speaker Madigan’s own pig-headedness and refusing to dismantle unions and end collective bargaining before I even want to discuss any budget getting passed and signed.”.

    Gov. Rauner ended, “Once Speaker Madigan and the legislators he semi-controls decide the Turnaround Agenda needs to be passed to end my crisis… You know what… all I can say is good luck to Sheriff Dart. It’s not my fault.”


  10. - walker - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    anon: No The spending cuts Dart mentions, have been happening for a few years now. It’s just getting worse every year.

  11. - truecolors - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    Until the media cares, the public won’t either.

  12. - A guy - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:27 am:

    It’s really just another version of “kicking the can down the road”. Sad.

  13. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    I’ll take that challenge: How about kicking them out of mental hospitals (in the 1980s), and creating a national homeless problem?

  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    In other words, this is insanity….

  15. - walker - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    AN: Just FYI, Cook County Jail is by far the largest houser of the identified mentally ill in the state. That doesn’t even count the regular inmates who are undiagnosed. The number is into the thousands around the state.

    A disgrace by any measure.

  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    Vote them into office?

  17. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    ANow is correct, except that all sorts of numbers need to be provided about the Criminal Justice system. how many are in because of a first time drug offense, is one I would like to know. juveniles have “records” of contacts where they are let go for offenses that would be misdemeanors if they were adults. what are those stats like? the system is affected by the emotions of those who are frustrated that an impoverished segment of the community ends up disproportionately incarcerated. historical perspective would be interesting as well. did this disproportionate treatment affect, say, the Irish in the 19th century? poverty is where most crime occurs. numbers illuminate. isn’t Toni responsible for a section of government that purports to give such numbers for the county’s actions now? enlighten us! nationally these numbers come from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and they are a well known balanced source.

  18. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:44 am:

    “A study in 1990 found that 1 in 15 prisoners at Cook County Jail had some form of mental illness. Today, a conservative estimate is 1 in 3.”

    The Atlantic - America’s Largest Mental Hospital Is a Jail

    – MrJM

  19. - Wordslinger - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:47 am:

    Out of sight, out if mind. It’s a return to warehousing,

  20. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    “juveniles have ‘records’ of contacts where they are let go for offenses that would be misdemeanors if they were adults.”

    What is the basis of this claim? Anything? Or is this just another baseless assertion?

    In fact, the converse is true: Juveniles are subject to “status offenses” that wouldn’t even be misdemeanors if done by adults.

    – MrJM

  21. - Anonyshrink - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:50 am:

    Mental health services is an easy area to cut spending without much political backlash. The seriously mentally ill do not have any strong lobby supporting them. Studies for as long as I’ve been alive have shown that decreased mental health services leads to more people in jail, and vice versa. The state is trying to lower the amount of people in mental health treatment without expanding the jails. It can’t be done. From a cost perspective, it is another short sighted move to treat the mentally ill in jail. The treatment is better in a hospital and people get safely into the community sooner, but it’ll cost more in the short term. The politicians (and most voters) care more about cost than ethics when it comes to treatment of the mentally ill. It’ll take more lawsuits to force the state to pay for ethical treatment. It seems to be the new way of crafting a budget.

  22. - Belle - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    Imprisoning the mentally ill began in the late 80’s. There are many articles on the topic as well as a “Frontline” that was originally shown in 2005. Dangerous criminals and people who are ill are not an appropriate mix.
    But, it costs a lot of money to keep the ill permanently housed and under supervision as well as receiving care.

  23. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    Too bad 26th and California is so far from Winnetka. Out of sight out of mind indeed.

  24. - PublicServant - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    ===So, everything was fine prior to the budget impasse?===

    You can’t just cut your way to a solution. There has to be some forethought. That, clearly, has been in short supply.

    It might not have been “fine” before, whatever that means, but it’s certainly “less fine” now, which is what we get when people scream “Change!” without knowing how to implement it. Implementation of ideology is easy. Making it work is not.

  25. - Tha missin g - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    @anon 9:42

    You’d havd to be crazy to think that defunding mental health services in order to further your anti Union agenda was a good idea.
    Sorry. I didn’t know I would have to explain.

  26. - Anon - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:12 am:

    How do other peer cities/counties handle this problem?

    New York? Los Angeles? Houston?

    Is this just a Cook County problem that Cook County has generated?

  27. - Mama - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    Anon it is not just a Cook County problem - - it is a statewide problem.

    How does other Midwestern states handle the mentally ill?

  28. - Mama - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    Who oversees the Mental Health Program(s) in Illinois?

  29. - Anon221 - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 10:56 am:


    DHS- but many of these Providers have been or will be “de-funded” because of the impasse and Turnaround demands.

  30. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    Mama: Many states have closed their state operated large MH hospitals. In theory, a MH safety net can be provided at the local level.

    For too long, Illinois has closed large state-operated MH hospitals with the promise those services would be provided in the community but when the budget axe starts to swing, those community services are often the first to be cut.

    Right now, Pscy. Leadership Grants are unfunded and those are how local MH providers pay their doctors. You cannot have community level MH system without Docs.

    Either by design or accident, Illinois is making the choice to have the mentally ill treated in local jails or DOC.

  31. - Politix - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    @amalia: “ANow is correct, except that all sorts of numbers need to be provided about the Criminal Justice system. how many are in because of a first time drug offense,”

    These data are readily available and widely used by reformers-Tom Dart, Toni Preckwinkle and others in the criminal justice community-calling for treatment options vs incarceration for mentally ill and drug-addicted non-violent offenders.

  32. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    == Is he talking about a couple, a few, or hundreds?==

    It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 100. That’s not the point. The point is that jails shouldn’t be used to house the mentally ill and you create that problem when they can’t get the treatment they need. It’s not always a game of numbers. Sometimes 1 is enough.

  33. - A guy - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    Adding to Demo’s comment…

    Not to mention that mixing this population with others in the jail is not a healthy experiment either; for the mentally ill or the others.

  34. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    Amalia, most of your questions seem pretty irrelevant. Why does it matter if someone is a first-time drug offender? What do you think that would tell you?

    If you’re interested in history, I’d start with reading this very slowly and carefully (or, preferably, the much longer article it references).

    It’s much more germane than being Irish.

  35. - Bluegrass Boy - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    “How does other Midwestern states handle the mentally ill?”

    By buying ‘em a bus ticket to Chicago apparently.

    I’m generally a libertarian small-govt kind of guy but I have to say I find it repugnant that our society has abdicated its primary responsibilities which I would define as Roads, Bridges, Public Schools, and the care for our disabled and ill.

    I was sickened by Quinn’s effort to move folks into “group homes” not because I cared a whit about saving government jobs but because medically, most of these folks require more and better care than a group home can possibly provide.

    Now it’s effectively continued under Rauner who refuses to work with Madigan to provide funding so that caregivers and organizations can provide services to the least among us.

    We often say elections have consequences. Obviously true. But so do the personal decisions our leaders make - at least for them. I think those who make decisions like this are going to pay for it in this life and the next. Wouldn’t want to be in their shoes….

    (off soapbox)

  36. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    @MisterJayEm, station adjustments are incidents that could proceed, but do not. I don’t know the stats now, but some years ago the number of station adjustments before the first time in court for the average juvenile was pretty high, as in nearing 10.

    as for tanehisi coates, he brushes off the immigrant experience. ask my mother who did not speak english until school how that works. I believe he also doesn’t mention the people who have it the worst in the U.S., Native Americans. You want to talk Federal policy that affects people’s lives, check that out, the incidents of sexual assault are stunning.

    @crazybleedingheart, the issue of how many people are in for first time offenses is a question when considering who is in for a drug offense. the portrayal of jails and prisons as filled with people nabbed for a joint is simply not accurate. first time offenders most often get a pass.

    as for whether County officials actually look at the numbers, Toni Preckwinkle is deeply concerned about the numbers in custody as reflecting the African American community. I wonder why she does not give as much attention to the number of victims in that community. they deserve as much a voice.

  37. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    Amalia, I’m not going to try to untangle that mess of mistake, baseless assertion, and irrelevant info to try to extract some sort of point. For the sake of the peanut gallery, I’ll just add that I hope Anita rewards you for your unflagging support.

  38. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 4:03 pm:

    @crazybleedingheart, I have no involvement with Anita. but thanks for playing for Toni.

  39. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 4:35 pm:

    @crazybleedingheart in explaining how incidents occur, since you invoked Coates, perhaps you’d like give a take on his comments on the 9/11 first responders. you can read Rich Lowry’s take contained here…..

  40. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 5:29 pm:

    Amalia, I’m not going to try to untangle that mess of mistake, baseless assertion, and irrelevant info to try to extract some sort of point.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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