Sheriff Testifies: We Are In An Unsustainable Position


“The unfortunate and undeniable conclusion is that because of dramatic and sustained cuts in mental health funding, we have criminalized mental illness in this country and county jails and state prison facilities are where the majority of mental health care and treatment is administered. ” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Since taking charge of Chicago’s Cook County Jail in 2006, Sheriff Tom Dart has been a strong voice advocating for mental health services, as his poignant testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee showed.

TA has been arrested over 100 times. Her most recent arrest came about after she attempted to steal $20.00 from a person’s purse during a church service. TA is a chronic self-mutilator. She attacks her arms with her own finger nails or any object she can find. To keep her safe while in our custody, we made special mittens that went up to her armpits. Incredibly, she was sentenced to a

prison term and recently was transferred to the state department of mental health. All said, the cost to taxpayers for her arrests and incarcerations is, conservatively, over  $1,000,000 and rising…

You can watch is five minute testimony above or read it by clicking here.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.