Psychologist Reflects On Her First Year Running The Cook County Jail

In this Sept. 29, 2011 photo, inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, the second largest county jail in the nation, wait to be processed for release.
In this Sept. 29, 2011 photo, inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, the second largest county jail in the nation, wait to be processed for release. AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
In this Sept. 29, 2011 photo, inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, the second largest county jail in the nation, wait to be processed for release.
In this Sept. 29, 2011 photo, inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, the second largest county jail in the nation, wait to be processed for release. AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Psychologist Reflects On Her First Year Running The Cook County Jail

A year ago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart appointed Nneka Jones Tapia as executive director of the Cook County Jail. 

She was an unconventional choice. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Jones Tapia did not have an extensive background in security or corrections. Nevertheless, Dart said her innovative approach to treating mental illness at the jail made her more than qualified to run a facility where one third of the inmate population is mentally ill. 

Morning Shift talks to Nneka Jones Tapia about what she has done in her first year on the job and how she views our criminal justice and mental health systems.