From the Clinics to the Jail: The Mental Health Care Crisis in Chicago

Story by Penny Yi Wang and Rachel White for Social Justice News Nexus blog

Three years ago, Chicago closed half its public mental health clinics, a crucial source of care for low-income people, Blacks and Latinos. With a lack of other options, the Cook County Jail is known as the region’s biggest mental health care provider. Thousands of people with mental illness are housed there, often because of crimes of survival related to their illness. Jail officials and advocates struggle to address the problem.

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Mentally ill behind bars

This heat map shows a snapshot of home addresses, by ZIP code, of Cook County Jail detainees who self-identified as living with mental illness on Jan. 29, 2015. The map is created in collaboration with Christine Watcher from the Chicago Reporter and published  on the Reporter.

Sheet 1

Notes: The darker the color red on the map, the higher the number of detainees who reported having a mental illness. Some ZIP codes on the edges of Cook County spill into adjacent counties.

Source: Cook County Sheriff’s Office

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