WBEZ | Cook County Sheriff’s Office http://www.wbez.org/tags/cook-county-sheriff%E2%80%99s-office Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Dart: ‘We’re criminalizing mental health’ http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Dart2cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says mentally ill jail inmates are overwhelming his staff. For now, though, he&rsquo;s not backing calls for Chicago to reopen six mental-health clinics it closed this spring.</p><p>At a Logan Square forum about the clinics Wednesday night, Dart said too many people with mental illnesses lacked professional care. &ldquo;When we don&rsquo;t fund services properly, they end up in my jail,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;What we are, in fact, doing is criminalizing mental health,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re doing.&rdquo;</p><p>The audience, packed into a church near one of the shuttered clinics, burst into applause.</p><p>The forum&rsquo;s organizers handed out a press release that said Dart supported their calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration to reopen and fully staff the clinics.</p><p>Later, however, Dart told WBEZ he wasn&rsquo;t making any demands.</p><p>&ldquo;What I want is a thorough plan that we&rsquo;re going to be advocating for,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;Could it involve more clinics? Could be. Could it involve more state money being funded for specific services? Could be. Literally nothing is off the table.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart said his office would come up with that plan by year&rsquo;s end.</p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 23:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 Sheriff decries immigration detainer ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 <p><p><img alt="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed changes to the measure. (WBEZ/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/CountyBoardscaled.JPG" style="margin: 6px 18px 5px 12px; float: right; width: 349px; height: 244px;" title="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed amendments to a measure that frees some jail inmates wanted by ICE. (WBEZ/File)">Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he wants changes to an ordinance that frees some jail inmates wanted by immigration authorities. But the law’s supporters say they still have the votes to keep it intact.</p><p>The ordinance, approved last September, prohibits the sheriff from complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Those are requests that the county hold specified inmates up to two business days longer than their criminal cases require. The detainers gave ICE extra time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>The ordinance has come under fire as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who completed his probation before going to jail on charges of killing a man in a Northwest Side hit-and-run incident last year. ICE named the inmate on a detainer. After the ordinance passed, he posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>On Thursday, a County Board committee held a four-hour hearing on proposals to honor the detainers for inmates who are potentially dangerous. At the hearing, Dart said the jail had released 346 inmates named on ICE detainers since the ordinance passed. He said 11 of those ended up arrested again on a variety of charges.</p><p>Dart also voiced support for one of those proposals, an amendment introduced last month by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett) that would require compliance with the detainers for inmates who appeared on a federal terrorist list or who faced various felony charges. Dart said Schneider’s proposal would target inmates who “have shown that they’re a danger.” Dart criticized another proposal, an amendment filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), that would give the sheriff discretion to honor detainers.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who chairs the committee, told WBEZ he opposes both amendments and said neither has enough support to pass. But Suffredin, who voted for the ordinance, said he is open to “cleaning it up to give the sheriff clearer discretion” on whether to honor detainers. Suffredin said any committee votes on amending the ordinance would be next month.</p><p>County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, interviewed by WBEZ during the hearing, pointed out that many citizens get out of jail and cause trouble, too.</p><p>“People who are accused of very serious crimes are given bail every day because a judge makes a determination that they’re not a flight risk and they’re not a danger to our community,” she said. “So if you have a concern about people who are accused of serious crimes being released back into our community, it’s got to be broader concern than the two or three percent of them who are undocumented.”</p><p>Preckwinkle talked up a study that’s looking for ways to improve the bond system. The county’s five-member Judicial Advisory Council is carrying out the study and planning to make recommendations within six months.</p><p>The ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago), prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. The law’s supporters say the detainers eroded community trust in local police and violated inmates’ due-process rights. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260