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Sheriff names clinical psychologist to run Chicago jail

As many as 35 percent of the jail’s inmates suffer from serious mental illness

By Don Babwin
Associated Press

CHICAGO — A clinical psychologist has been picked to lead a Chicago jail that is one of the largest in the country.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart tapped Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia to lead the 9,000-inmate facility. Dart has long complained that drastic cuts to mental health programs have turned jails into dumping grounds for the mentally ill.

The American Jail Association said it knows of no other jail in the United States being headed by someone with the background of Jones Tapia. She previously was the jail’s first assistant executive director.

As many as 35 percent of the jail’s inmates suffer from serious mental illness. Dart says it has become “one of the largest mental health institutions in the country.”

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